Let’s face it: When you get someone a holiday gift, there’s no better way to say, “I didn’t put much thought into this,” than a box from Amazon. That’s tacit admission that you did a quick search on the Internet on Dec. 21 and then spent roughly two minutes thinking about the gift’s recipient before turning your attention to the unforgivable inconvenience of having to update your credit card’s expiration date.

No. This Christmas you want to give your friends and loved ones gifts that make it look like you went out of your way to pick out something unique from a dusty shop with creaky floors. You want gifts that are the loving creations of an actual person’s one or more hands, or possibly feet, and not cookie-cutter plastic products churned out by a machine. You want things purchased from some regionally famous, wizened old artist/potter/jeweler/farmer who only comes down from the hills once a year to sell stuff.

In short, since we all know you’re unlikely to go scouring the valley’s dusty shops, galleries and hillsides yourself, as bizarre as it may sound in today’s online world, you want a bazaar. And wouldn’t you know it, this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, there just happen to be two that are both turning 42 and take place in the quaintest of venues.

In Carbondale, be sure to check out the 42nd annual Carbondale Christmas Boutique on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Though misnamed (it’s actually more of a bazaar, by definition), the long-running tradition at the Carbondale Fire Department, which receives a portion of the proceeds, offers up all sorts of handmade one-of-a-kind goods, from leather products and ornaments to jams, jellies and more.

The boutique is great, but the really old-school bazaar to make your gift recipients swoon at your thoughtfulness is the 42nd annual Emma Schoolhouse Christmas Bazaar, which, as its name implies, actually takes place in an old school. It’s dusty. It’s creaky. It was built in the 1800s and has just one room. It’s so old it’s olde. It’s the perfect place to buy something perfect for that perfect someone.

Oh, and the gifts are nice, too. There’ll be pottery, clothing, hand-blown glass, cutting boards, beaded specialties and much more, all crafted by local artisans who can use the money a lot more than Jeff Bezos. 

So shop locally and feel good about yourself. Just make sure to take a selfie with the schoolhouse in the background so your friends and loved ones will know how much you thought of them.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at todd@aspendailynews.com.

Special Sections Editor