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Autostraddle + For Them’s Ultimate Team Holigay Gift Guide 2023!

It’s that special, sparkly time of year when Autostraddle writers and editors share what we’re all wishing for during the holigay season. This year, our friends at For Them are joining in on the fun, too, so this ultimate team gift guide is even more ultimate than usual! Between all of us, we represent a wide range of identities, interests, hobbies, and obsessions, so there’s quite the range on this list! Use this list for inspiration for yourself or others, and stay tuned for upcoming specific lists to fit all kinds of gay gift-giving! 🎁


Katie Reilly, Writer

I am working to unlearn the ableist capitalist ideals that have shaped my views on productivity and success so these are all books or tools I have on my list. I loved Sonya Renee Taylor’s Your Body Is Not an Apology book so I’m hoping the workbook could help me practice self-love and dismantle body shame and put the ideas from the book into practice. Plus I always love a workbook. A Renaissance of Our Own by Rachel E. Cargle appeals to me with its promise to explore breaking points in life, reimagining a world independent of oppressive structures plus Cargle is a legend. Jenny Odell’s Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond Productivity Culture was suggested to me as a related read when I recently finished reading Rest Is Resistance. I love the idea of challenging the societal construct of time and learning how it was built for profit, not people. Lastly, I recently finished reading Tricia Hersey’s Rest Is Resistance and gained a lot from it. I like the idea of The Nap Ministry’s Rest Deck: 50 Practices to Resist Grind Culture Cards as a tool for reclaiming rest. These books and tools collectively can help me unlearn harmful ideals, embracing joy, and fostering a more compassionate and authentic way of living for me as a chronically ill queer person.


Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Managing Editor

I’m getting ready for a wedding in a couple months, so my partner and I aren’t really doing gifts this year (though inevitably will get each other small things as well as experiences~, which are often my favorite kinds of gifts anyway!). IF I were getting myself some gifts though…my sister very generously recently gifted us an outdoor flat top griddle grill for our engagement/wedding, and I am turning into a full-on grilling mommi. While she also gifted us a bunch of accessories (this is not an ad lol, but plugging that my sister works for Halo!), there are still some things I want in order to take my grilling prowess to the next level.


Fright Dyke, Vampire

 

Oh, I’M sorry! Am I only allowed to write for Autostraddle during SPOOKY SEASON? Well, as a full-time lesbian vampire, it’s ALWAYS spooky season for me! The blood drip necklace might be a little on the nose, but that’s called vamp camp, baby. And yes, I do enjoy sad gay poetry just like living lesbians.


Nic Sam, Writer

I am notorious for treating myself with a lil’ (emphasis on lil’) something whenever I need a pick-me-up, which makes shopping for me…not the easiest. But a safe bet is almost always: nerd fare. I’ve only included one piece of Critical Role merchandise on my wish list, lest I be TOO predictable, and also to lessen the chances that Valerie Anne and I would have identical lists. I would do almost anything Imogen Temult asked of me, including rocking this adorable character shirt.

And now that I’m back working in an office a few days a week, what better activity than building this tranquil garden as a stress reliever that doubles as office decoration?? Also a hallmark of my office? My Funkos. The Marvels makes up at least half of my personality at the moment so these cuties would be the perfect addition to my collection.

Lastly, do I know if Beyoncé actually wears this fragrance?? Nope. Will I pass up the chance to maybe smell like the opulence she oozes? Also no.


Valerie Anne, Writer

I thought it was about time I join My People and finally get some Doc Martens of my own, and these vegan purple ones make my eyes sparkle. And when I get home from strutting around in my new boots, I want to put on soft pants, and the Critical Role joggers are just the thing. Do I already own the three other city joggers Critical Role makes? Yes. But I don’t have Jrusar yet! If it ain’t broke! I also recently dusted off my record player and realized I don’t have nearly enough vinyls, so it’s time to gay up my collection. And I recently discovered the magic of Kalynn Bayron; I devoured You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight and Cinderella is Dead, so now I want to venture into her Poison Heart series next. All of my friends have been getting really into Baldur’s Gate 3, and I also haven’t played D&D in way too long, so I think that game would scratch that itch. And last but not least, I don’t want, I NEED to add my favorite cannibal teens to my Funko Pop collection.


ashni mehta, Writer

Ever since I started wearing brighter colors, I’ve noticed that I’m happier. Coincidence? Maybe, but now I have no choice but to continue. This year I want even more color, especially from things that’ll make my life more comfortable! The Dusen Dusen bathrobe on here reminds me of a candy cane and would definitely brighten up a dull winter morning. I would also settle for their slippers if the robe is an impossibility! I’ve never owned a Baggu, but I’ve seen a lot of them lately (likely due to the plastic bag ban) and now I really want one! Specifically, a metallic lime green Baggu. The Theraface Pro is on here mostly because it seems like a more useful version of one of those alien tech red light therapy masks, and also because I’d love a chiseled jawline but I’m scared of injectables. The gummy bears are extremely Goop-coded but unfortunately texture-wise are some of the best gummy bears I’ve ever had, so they are here as well!


Motti Funny Smart, For Them Communications Lead and Social Media

If I have to get on the L train one more time and see some quirked up hipster cis-boy in my dream pair of New Balances, I’m going to lose my shit. And by lose my shit, I mean responsibly save up to get them myself when I’m fiscally able to. I have also long wanted an item from daddy Seth Rogan at Houseplant, but have never been able to justify dropping nearly $200 on an ashtray when I have a perfectly good empty coke can from lunch. That’s what gifts are for, right? Getting things you wouldn’t splurge for yourself? Lastly, I was first introduced to Casio watches in my debut queer relationship and I have since been looking to grow my collection. Plus, the green watch face would look soooo good paired with my New Balances!


Riese , Editorial & Strategy

Once again I find myself desiring all the trappings of a middle-aged life: skincare, sweatsuits, candles, jigsaw puzzles, craft supplies and a very heavy book. It is with these items I can live my best life in my favorite place: my own apartment.


Natalie , Writer

Last year, I asked for — and received! — a few gifts to jumpstart an interest in baking. I’d hoped by this year, I’d have perfected recipes for the perfect Thanksgiving pie or Christmas cookies, but, of course, that’s not what happened. Instead, I took the savory route: baking bread, rolls and the occasional homemade pizza. In the new year, I’d like to continue leveling up my baking skills (next year: croissants!).

While I’m waiting for my dough to proof, maybe I’ll play a few games on my Switch or jot some new ideas down in my moleskin notebook.


Nico , A+ Director

After well over a year (two years?) of using the Boy Smells sample fragrance set, I have a clear favorite — Violet Ends. I’m out of the sample size and now I have to either look into the maw of fragrance prices or just forget that this scent ever existed. It smells like a dandy who’s just committed a murder. That’s what it smells like. I can’t. The candle is because my house does not smell enough like I’ve been banished from Puritan society. As for the joggers, the structure, the masc look, the hip fit, the fact that my current joggers are looking a little worse for wear. Practical and affirming at the same time.

I don’t actually know what a reasonable price is for ethically made clothing anymore? With inflation and all? So while it’s out of my price range, I do think that this hoodie is hot, mysterious. What specifically is this mysterious feeling? It’s the lingering, nagging question question you have while out and about with me — are we actually going back to my place for tea, or are you going to be led into the woods because it’s still Sacrifice Season? Mystery!

I keep making eggs and then wishing I had chili crisp to put on them and then never buying it because it is a Whole Separate Thing to order Fly By Jing, but I did it once, and now I can’t stop thinking about how good this stuff is.

My ex took most of the lamps when she moved out, which, fair, she did buy them, but also, now the house is really dark. I navigate it like I’m playing a first-person horror video game, moving through areas of darkness using my phone or a flashlight to light the way until I can reach whatever single lamp is in the room, should it exist. Realistically, I just need to go thrift some lamps, but also, I know I’m not going to find a Lamp That Is A Snake at a thrift store (probably).


1. Knife Block ($34)2. Electric Kettle ($27) 3. Just Dance 2024 ($40) 4. Everly Boot ($120)

1. Knife Block ($34)
2. Electric Kettle ($27)
3. Just Dance 2024 ($40)
4. Everly Boot ($120)

I love my kitchen, and I love spending time in my kitchen. I got cool rainbow plated cutlery a couple years ago, and then I saw that I could get a rainbow knife block. This one matches and I need it! I am a big tea drinker, and I have a smaller electric tea kettle, but I need one that boils more water because most of my mugs are over 12 ounces. My dog chewed up my old Chelsea boots, and I really want a new pair that are better quality. Finally, I need to move my body more, and playing Just Dance is my favorite way to sweat!


Kylo Freeman, For Them CEO and Founder

Staying on brand as trans grandpa with my binder max and fluffy slides. Zadie Smith because she writes life as she sees it, what it can mean to be Black and British — and helps me explore myself a little more with every page.


Stef Rubino, Writer

Listen, I’m a very simple guy. When I’m thinking of what I’d like to receive as a gift from someone I love, I tend to gravitate towards very practical things that I just don’t want to spend 100+ dollars on. You know, things I need and should buy but I don’t because spending that much money on an object at once gives me anxiety for various reasons. So, these items might not be very exciting to anyone else but when I was thinking about what I really wanted right now, they’re the first three that came up. I’ve been doing strength training and powerlifting for over a year, and up to this point, I’ve been lifting heavy without a belt. In order to get stronger and start hitting the higher numbers I have my eyes on, I need to start equipping myself with more stuff besides just my wrist wraps. I’ve been thinking about getting a weightlifting belt for a while now, and I’d really love one of these Inzer Forever Buckle Belts in black or dark brown. They’re just very plain and straightforward, and they remind me of weightlifters of the 1970s and 80s. I could also use another pair of casual everyday sneakers in a more neutral color than the ones I currently have. I really like the way New Balance’s shoes fit on my feet and the support they give me, so I’m not interested in trying something else currently. My favorite New Balance design is retired for the time being, so I’m thinking of trying these Made in USA 998s in the grey with silver colorway. The last thing on my list is something I’ve needed for a while and have been too stubborn to get. I’ve tried hard to be an ear bud guy over the last few years, but I’m just NOT. I have a pair of headphones that I’ve kind of run ragged over the last six months, and I want to get some new ones that have better longevity. I think these Soundcore Space Ones would probably be the best option.

 


Em Chad, For Them Chief Operating Officer

1. Jeans ($260)2. Catbird Permanent Jewelry ($128+) 3. Tea Infuser ($35) 4. Memory Book ($15)

1. Jeans ($260)
2. Catbird Permanent Jewelry ($128+)
3. Tea Infuser ($35)
4. Memory Book ($15)

These business in front, action in the back jeans — why choose when you can have it all?Permanent jewelry (because jewelry seems to be a transient possession for me, which is not the one for precious metal). A high tech tea brewing pot because… British 🙄. And kitchen gadgets and a one-line-a-day memory book because…so nostalgic and so busy!


Carmen Phillips, Editor-in-Chief

I’m in a place right now where I’m deeply into protecting my peace, and nothing sounds better to me than an afternoon of blissful silence, a book to flip through, and some good smells for my senses. I’ve been following Black Archives on Instagram for years. I’m such a nerd, but I love reminders that we’ve been here before, that we’ve always been as gorgeous as we are right now. I discovered CAVO candles recently while looking up Black owned candle companies (such a niche!). I love their playful branding and you get a custom playlist with each purchase. I’m asking for “After a Good Cry” because I’m cancer, natch. And technically this American Eagle sweatshirt is a cheat (I already own it in blue) but hear me out!! It is so soft and comfy and it’s already become my second skin, just on the basis of having clean clothes alone, I clearly need more!

Plus it has matching pants, if you wanna make a cute little set.


Em Win, Writer

Most of my holiday wish list gives mommi vibes despite me not being a mother, not even a plant mom. However, the older I get the more I enjoy investing in domestic pleasures. I’ve been wanting a kitchen aid mixer for years and I’ve held off buying it mostly because I’ve moved around a lot. Now that I’m stuck here in FL for the foreseeable future there’s no reason not to have it. The glass simmer pot and boujee lipstick are both products of my TikTok for you page. A glass pot just feels like something I should own for entertaining and the lipstick marginally sparkles when you smack your lips together! I’ve been seeing a lot of actual moms walking around with the Kavu bag and it honestly looks super practical, so I obviously need it. Finally, I desperately need better socks and I swear because currently all of mine are stained and/or have holes.


Drew Burnett Gregory, Senior Editor

My picks this year are all connected to the fact that I’ve just moved into a new apartment!! I’ve been crashing with my girlfriend and with friends and in sublets since February! It’s been so long since I’ve had all my stuff in one place. And this the first time I’ve ever had a place without roommates (except for the last six months of my last relationship but that place was so small and doesn’t count). So starting off I’m picking some bright red Le Creuset cookware. IRL I will probs get something cheaper but my dream is my place looks like an Almodóvar movie so this would be a great start. Then, of course, to watch Almodóvar movies and the rest of my Blu Ray collection I need a high end 4K player. And then, finally., Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show. I’ve wanted to read this since it came out but couldn’t justify it when I was moving around so much. That’s why I want the hardcover to really prove my point.


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