Autostraddle’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2011: What Your Girlfriend Or Otherwise-Inclined Pal Wants

Hey there starship troopers! It’s the holiday season and we’re here to help you get your shit together in a variety of ways: recipes, kits, gift guides, holiday how-tos and so very much more. Come along with us, won’t you, to Autostraddle Holigays 2011! FYI, if you follow the amazon and shopstyle links from our website when making holiday purchases, Autostraddle gets a little percentage of that money via our Amazon affiliates account, so we encourage you to do that All Season Long!! Thank you!

Hello! Every year the Autostraddle Team bands together to tell you what we want for the Winter Holidays, in hopes that our desires enhance your perspective on the desires of your lovers, friends, family, and co-workers. In addition to obviously wanting an Autostraddle Calendar and other merch, there are just so many objects in the world to buy! YAY CONSUMERISM! Let’s not waste any time. For additional inspiration, check out last year and the year before that.

Carolyn, Contributing Editor

Books & Knives

Books. So many books. I got a Kobo a few months ago and for some reason buying ebooks does not feel like buying real books and now I am going broke. Books I am specifically interested in at this moment of space/time include Saints Astray, by Jacqueline Carey. Have I talked enough about my love for Jacqueline Carey? Because hot damn.

The one sharp knife I currently own is a. originally from Dollarama, and b. no longer sharp despite being serrated. Something about having an eight-inch stainless steel chef’s knife seems pretty awesome, but at this point I would really just like a solid-looking utility knife than can, unlike my current knife, make it all the way through an apple. Or a piece of bread.

Rachel, Senior Editor

Books, Screenprinting & Warmth

The Art of FieldingThis is a book, one that has received a fairly significant amount of acclaim this year. It is about baseball and also I believe some gay stuff. With those three facts combined, it just seems stupid that I should have to buy this for myself. Really? Not one of the people I know in life has seen this and thought “Oh, OBVIOUSLY Rachel probably LOVES this?” What is wrong with them?

Screenprinting Kit. Just because I hated everything about summer camp and was the least cool kid every single year doesn’t mean I don’t love arts and crafts. I want to screenprint the days of the week on my underwear, James Baldwin onto an inspirational poster to put above my bed and stare at dreamily every night before I fall asleep, and Autostraddle onto everything else.

Hot Water Bottle. One of my best friends, who Knows From Cold because she lives in Canada, says she is going to get me this, but I want it so bad that really what’s wrong with having more than one? I am not a proud person and I do not lead a glamorous life; low-tech ways of keeping warm and surviving winter are pretty high up my priority list. If the old-fashioned hot water bottle is as magical as she claims, something may finally approach the glory of the days when I was like 8 and we visited my one aunt whose had beds with electric blankets on them. Can you even imagine.

Lizz, Fashion Editor

Essential Non-Essentials

This Chanukah I’m only asking for things I have no way in hell of buying for myself. That would be a real gift– receiving something that I would never ever actually buy for myself no matter how much I want/need it.

First up, I like to listen to music while I snowboard (which is probably dangerous) but my helmet jams my earbud so far in to my ear that it’s giving me a blunt-force daith piecing. It turns out that there are these nifty helmets that have audio hook-ups right in the ear piece. The brand of helmet I like, Giro, even has this whole cool line of different sound systems that integrate right in to your helmet called Tuneups. How cute is that name? So wouldn’t it be smart of me to go buy the Giro Seam Snow Helmet and the Giro Tuneups with Bluetooth? It would be a great idea since the helmet even comes in this magical sunset color. But, of course, I’ll never buy this for myself because you have to buy both parts which is way to much coordination for me to handle and, technically, speaking, I already have a working sound system with my ear-digging headphones. But god it would be cool to have a wireless bluetooth situation so I could stop getting choked by the headphone cord.

Also I really need a new purse. I’ve been carrying around the tote-bag I designed in elementary school for about two months now. It was looking okay until one of my coworkers spilled a Miller High Life on it about five weeks ago. What I really want is a satchel (which I totally told you all to get in the fall) but unfortunately the one I want doesn’t approximate any representation of reality. The Heritage Bayswater Satchel by Mulberry is basically the best purse ever made. It’s the right size and a perfect color but actually it costs $1,500 dollars. Who the hell is spending a grand and a half on purses? I can’t really justify buying this for myself until I’m donating at least $100 grand to charity every year. This past year I donated $200 bucks to NPR (less the cost of my free mug) so I’m S.O.L unless someone buys it for me. I shouldn’t even be talking about this purse except I’m so enamored that I cut out the Mulberry advertisement and tacked it up at work.

Finally, someone needs to buy me a laundry system. I moved in to my apartment two years ago and never bought one. It’s been on my to-do list since then. There’s clothing all over the floor and I don’t know what to do. It’s scary in here and I need to get to the bathroom but I sort of can’t get out Hoarders style. Preferably a laundry system that comes with three hamper compartments for darks, lights and dry clean with an overhead bar to hang things I’m going to wear again.

Intern Bren, Intern

Books & Underwear

Reading is one of my favorite things to do with my eyeballs. Another thing I like to do with my eyeballs is watch television and with the Level 26 trilogy you can do both because they are “Digi-Novels.” You read a few chapters, then go to a website, enter a code and watch a short video of the characters in the novel that relates to the events you just read about. I already have in my possession the first two books in the series and I desperately want the third (Dark Revelations), which comes out Dec. 29th, but it can be pre-ordered now. And if you need more convincing you should know all the books are about really twisted serial killers and they are written by the creator of CSI: Crime Scene Investigations.

I just moved from Florida to northernish California and I’ve noticed that this special new place has something that Florida never did — Winter. I am not prepared for this in the slightest. So these thermal undershirts might come in handy.

While we’re on the subject of things that keep you warm, I could use some more pairs of Smartwool socks. Now I don’t know exactly what makes the fabric of these socks so intelligent, but when it comes to keeping your feet nice and snuggly these socks are freakin’ Eisenstein, and this is coming from a person whose daily outlook on life and general happiness is directly related to the warmth and comfort of her feet. They are the next best thing to warming your cold feet on a hot chick.

When I saw the trailer of The Hunger Games I sat in amazement that I had never even heard of these books. Everything about this story is right up the ally of things I find interesting and readable. Like a good little person with no money I went to the library and put a hold on the trilogy only to see that there are 319 people in front of me. So unless I want to wait until 2098 to read this I need someone to buy it for me.

Also, WeWOOD watches are pretty cool. They’re made of wood, hence the name, and look interesting, which means lots of chicks will want to touch it and you by default. AND WeWOOD plants a tree for every watch you buy, so there’s that.

this is the one I have

Laura, Contributing Editor

Hair Clippers, Water Colors and Miracle Fruit

Even though I know I will not be getting hair clippers for Christmas (I’ve asked for that effing cordless drill for 3 years now), I am putting them on my list. If you’re listening, family, I would be able to cut my hair in ⅓ the time it takes me to cut it with scissors, which would give me approximately twenty extra minutes to devote to stereotypically feminine pursuits. That’s twenty minutes a month that could be spent on quilting, shopping for makeup and reading Cosmo. Or, you know, drilling holes.

As crafty as I like to think I am, water colors are one thing I’ve never understood. My friend let me play with hers the other day and I’ve decided it’s something I’d like to get better at. You can blend them just like other types of paint and they come in minuscule, adorable containers that you can fit in your pocket. If you have to know, the fact that they are tiny is probably 80% of the reason I want them. I love tiny things! You could give me a very small cockroach and I’d be positively pleased as a peach.

Have you heard of this stuff? It’s a magical berry that changes sour foods like lemons and rhubard into things you’d actually want to eat without first putting them inside a pie! Goat cheese, beer, strawberries, avocado, and salsa are some of the foods I’ve heard you should try with it and are, coincidentally, some of my favorite things to put in my mouth. It’s basically an excuse to have a party. In the interest of practicality, I think I’d like tablets; however, I wouldn’t be opposed to a seedling to add to my plant menagerie.

Deanne Smith, Comedy Writer

Funny and Useful Things

Hey, so, apparently I’m hard to buy for because I don’t really want things. And if I do want something, I tend to just go ahead and get it for myself. (One of the best parts of being an adult!) So, here are some things I think YOU or someone in your life will enjoy that I might, like, already own or something. And the bonus part is, they’re all relatively affordable!

Any Maria Bamford CD. Do you like your satire super sharp and mind-bendingly hilarious? Then get some Maria Bamford into your life. She is pure genius. Trust me. And her comedy is a great litmus test for finding out who is awesome in your world and who has zero sense of humor.

Memory Foam PillowThis is good for:

a. feeling luxurious
b. sleeping soundly in a variety of positions
c. enticing the sweet honeys into your bed
d. all of the above

A Slouch HatEveryone looks hot in a slouch hat. EVERYONE. Plus, in winter, you can wake up, throw one of these over your bed head and be sexy all day long, with zero effort. Please nobody tell me these are “so 2008” or something. I couldn’t handle that. I think they are perfect.

Betty White’s LatestI bought, like, four copies of this book because I can think of so many people who will like it. Betty White is super popular right now. Like canning your own vegetables and claiming to be “over Facebook.”

Crock Pot“Chuck all your cut-up stuff in a hot hole, leave it, and hours later experience deliciousness.” That’s how every crock pot recipe should read, because THAT’S HOW EASY IT IS. Great if, like me, you’re busy and lazy and have a thing for the 70s.


NEXT: Shoes, Hello Kitty Toaster, Whisky Stones, Underpants, Design*Sponge, Messenger Bags, Espresso Machine and so much more!

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  1. I have been wanting Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme for so long that I don’t know how I haven’t bought it for myself yet. But I can’t ask my parents to get it for me for Christmas. I asked for Timberland boots because I loved my old pair to death, and of course I really want an iPhone but my parents say they will only get me one if I pay for the service myself. I’m graduating from college in the spring and have doubts that I’d be able to afford iPhone service myself.

    That wooden watch is gorgeous and I would ask for that if I could tell time on an analog watch. Anyone know where I could get a classy-looking digital watch?

    • Maybe you really should be asking for an analogue watch then. Teaching someone to read analogue is the gift that keeps on giving.

  2. I am worried. I keep seeing mentions of vetting people by their book collection, which I think is a perfectly good idea because I enjoy being culturally judgemental. HOWEVER, a few months ago I gave away 90% of my books to make moving easier, and now have only one suitcase-full, most of which are random gifts from friends I held onto because they wrote something funny in them.

    What do I do when people come round and see barely a shelf’s-worth of weird tomes? Should I make some sort of disclaimer banner? People who are seriously into ebooks must also have this problem. I suppose I could bring books up in conversation, but then I’d have to pretend I’d read them.

    These lists were fun and probably more aligned with my interests than the other gift guides. Which kind of makes sense, because the other lists were meant to be for other people. Although getting further insights into Team AS makes me feel slightly stalkerish and also wonder if Crystal and Taylor are getting nothing for X-Mas/festival-of-choice.

    Things I want:
    * pyjamas in the style worn by old men
    * a steel drum (miniature)
    * a USB microphone
    * How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (borrowed preferably)
    * personal tea slave

  3. I always have two Christmas lists, my safe-for-family one (with like socks and a bathrobe and shit on it) and my “me” one. The later one currently consists of: Rodeo harness, American Eagle boxer briefs, a new tarot card deck, the books Becoming a Visible Man and Gender Outlaw, a men’s dress shirt with french cuffs, and a power drill. And socks. You can never have too many socks.

    • Awww you reminded me of Dumbledore
      “I can see myself holding a pair of thick, wooden socks.”
      He’s the best gay wizard ever
      is he the only one?…
      and the Hunger Games is so absolutely amazing and it’s popular with teens while not being so completely anti feminist like twilight

    • I had two copies of Gender Outlaw until I gave one to the thrift store a couple of weeks ago. I feel so bad now! I could have made your Holiday wish come true, but the timing was off.

      • ‘sokay, I do most of my non-grocery shopping at thrift stores anyway so maybe it’ll karmically find its way to me.

  4. also Santa Olivia and Saints Astray are SO GAY and two of my favorite recent sci-fi reads. (Apart from Hunger Games which everyone should read, seriously.)

    In my head I cast Michelle Rodriguez (circa Girlfight) as Loup and Jessica Alba (circa Dark Angel) as Pilar…because they fit the badass personalities and canonical hotness of the characters, and NOT because the movie Machete made me want to see them make out. Not at all.

  5. I want a wooden watch. It is incredibly interesting, and it might make girls want to touch me. Can’t say no to that.

  6. Don’t you dare suggest that people buy fucking whiskey stones. If someone gives me a bag of rocks and tells me that they’re artisan whiskey stones, I will pour out said bag of rocks on the driveway.

    People, don’t buy rocks for your whiskey. DON’T.

  7. the first present i ever got for my gf when we started dating many moons ago was a very nice chef’s knife (she’s a kick ass cook). it was from this company: they make incredibly beautiful and super sharp artisan knives that are also really cool looking and colorful, so you can’t go wrong. highly highly recommend. a little on the pricey side, yes, but they last FOREVER. :)

    also… if you can’t figure out a present for your significant lady friend or other loved ones/friends, consider a trip!! studies have shown again and again that experiences, not things, are what make us the happiest and are the best things to spend money on. so take her for a weekend to the mountains to go skiing or a night in wine country. these don’t have to be super expensive vacations..small, local-ish getaways can be done on a small budget. and then you’ll have memories forevs and evs

    • My sis is getting me a chef’s knife this year. I asked her for one because all of my knifes are very crappy, and I love to cook. I’m inordinately excited for the holiday just because of this gift.

  8. I want pants, because I only own 2 pairs. Also a water proof jacket, because mine is ten years old and has holes. Beyond that, I’m pretty good.

    I also have issues with book-judging. I own very few books, because I don’t believe in personal libraries. Books should never be trophies.

    • “I also have issues with book-judging. I own very few books, because I don’t believe in personal libraries. Books should never be trophies.”

      Ah, you contradict yourself! You judge people for keeping personal libraries.

    • ftr, my present girlfriend has maybe about 20 books total in her room, maximum, and my girlfriend before that couldn’t even read, so obviously I’m not THAT judgey

  9. WOW. I want all the things. This list actually gives me some great ideas for Christmas gifts for two of my male heterosexual bros. Also I always wanted an electric blanket but when I was a kid my dad wouldn’t let any of us use them because he says they produce EMF and will give us brain cancer or something. The only time we ever had one in the house was so that my elderly cat could sleep on it as she slowly died ;__;

  10. Smart Wool socks are excellent. Everyone should take that advice and buy them for everyone they know. If you think that 17 dollars for socks is too expensive, buy a pair and you’ll understand.

    • I was walking to work last winter and one of my friends who didn’t want me to die of cold gave me her old Smart Wool socks. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE (pardon me for yelling). I love them so much. Any time I go somewhere cold I wear them.

  11. I’ve wanted a hot water bottle for two years now and nobody has got me one!!! I’m going to have to get it myself, aren’t I?

  12. I forgot that “astray” was a word and thought that, a.) Astray was a really unfortunate typo for “ashtray” and b.) Saint’s Ashtray is a really unfortunate title altogether. Then I came to my senses.

  13. i really want an electric blanket now but A: fire hazard and B: i live in corpus and it would be unnecessary in about a month.


      i left mine on 24/7 in a wooden room on a mattress on the floor for about 3 months until it blew out. for serious. take a chance! good lord nothing is sweeter than how i feel in my warm bed right now.

      that being said i respect your life choices.

  14. Screenprinting! I took a screenprinting class this semester (it’s actually required for my major =) ) and it was AWESOME. It’s so much fun. I’m spending all of next semester screen printing postcards to mail to my studying-abroad gf.

  15. I really enjoyed reading this gift guide. I also enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t, like, broken up into 16 pages or something ridiculous like that. Thanks, autostraddle!

    • yes i’ve found that refusing to read anything online split into more than 3 pages has meant i can’t really read anything online except on my own website

    • Yes! That drives me nuts and pretty much guarantees that I won’t finish the article cause I get so annoyed.

  16. Damn, I was already coveting a ridiculously bright blue Nixon watch and now I *must have* the wood watch. Watches can be an expensive addiction.

  17. This is my first year getting a present for someone I like… and it’s a playlist burned on a cd (making the cover art) annnnd a pack of cookies.

    I’m slowly becoming a hipster. :(

  18. Riese,

    Material World was one of my favorite books as a kid.

    Also, also, aslo have you looked at Sally Mann’s “At Twelve”? It is really good.

  19. sometimes i feel like i want to learn more about buddhism and other times i feel like i want all the things.

  20. Had to stop reading to comment on how awesome apple cutters are. My roommate made fun of me for having one for approximately two days before she gave in and admitted that it was the third best addition to our household (after my kitten and me, respectively).

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