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

Brittani, TV, Sports & Contributing Editor

Books & Shoes

I generally don’t like gifts. Mostly because I only want things that are practical and that upsets people. Also, I’m super picky so I’m hard to shop for. But there is a method to my madness. I like things that are versatile, long-lasting, and simple yet unique. As long as it is 50% gray or black and looks remarkably similar yet somehow different than everything else I have, I will probably like it. I wear the color gray a lot because it screams, “Hey. I’m here to party.” With shoes, they go with pretty much everything and it’s easy to dress up or down. Keep in mind that for me dressing up means I could go to the Cheesecake Factory in it.

This book is Truffaut interviewing Hitchcock as they discuss all of Hitchcock’s films. I imagine it started when someone asked Truffaut the “if you could go to dinner with anyone” question and he said Hitchcock and that person was all, “Funny story, I know him!” They both seem like interesting fellas so I don’t know how this couldn’t be a great read. If you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s films or want some insight into the minds of two cinematic geniuses, this is for you. Or if you want some random facts to casually drop into convos so you seem like a huge douche which is probably what I’ll do if I ever read this book, this will provide plenty of fodder.

Riese, Editor-in Chief

Big Dreams & Photography Books

Firstly, I need a million dollars, a dresser, a professional camera, an iPad and/or a kindle fire and a car. And a pony and a rocket ship.

And an apple slicer, for slicing apples:

I’m really into photography books this year — I read/write so much that sometimes I want to look at things that are interesting without being wordy.  Specifically: Please Read (If At All Possible) — most of my sociology/womens studies background is in American teenage girl culture, so I find this book’s mission just fantastic. (read about it: The Girl Project)

When I go to someone’s house the first thing I look at is their bookshelf. Junot Diaz probs isn’t inviting me over for drinks any time soon, but luckily Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books exists. In Material World: A Global Family Portrait, 16 amazing photographers traveled to thirty different countries to tell the stories of statistically average families through their possessions. Also, I keep asking for Women, by Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag, maybe one day I will receive it!

Also everything I wanted last year I still want, except the bike because I got a bike.

Carmen, Contributing Editor

Warm Blankets, Hot Underpants & Perfume

Ignore everything everyone says and buy an electric blanket. Buy an electric blanket and never look back.

The Sunbeam I’ve found on Amazon is bigger than your average throw – it’ll not only keep you warm and toasty in bed, but it gives you just enough room to invite someone else underneath it on the sofa while you watch Sex and the City. I promise. This works. Guys, my first pick up line as a lesbian was “do you want to sit next to me under this electric blanket? It’s been plugged in for 20 minutes!”

Also I have a favorite pair of underwear made by DKNY that you can pick up multi-packs of on Amazon, too. I promise you’ll feel like a DKNY model / the hottest girl in the room. Mine are heather green but they don’t have that. You can never go wrong with heather grey, though.

The best gift I ever received was a solid perfume locket by Jean Paul Gaultier that I treasure endlessly and need to take to a jeweler. But even better is a huge cocktail ring filled with Marc Jacobs Daisy solid perfume. No, seriously.

Alex, Design Director

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

There are few of us who make careers out of blogging. Grace Bonney, who runs Design*Sponge is one of those accomplished individuals. Her blog, which I had known about since I saw it written up in an article for its great website design, is a super-conglomerate of DIY, design, shopping, recipe awesomeness and more. I especially love the “Before And After” posts — where you could read the process behind mundane found objects (or uninteresting room in a house for example) turned into magic. Now that Grace Bonney is offering all of this Design*Sponge goodness in a book (a huge 400 page book!) I really want it for Christmas and I recommend it to any of you who like new ideas, design inspiration, making things, adding to your book shelf collection, books for your coffee table, recipes… I think the list goes on but I’ll stop there. Also, I once did a panel with Grace Bonney at the 2010 BlogHer Conference I’M JUST SAYING.

Katrina, Writer

Things for your home and your person

A herringbone scarf is the perfect way to say to anyone, “Oooh, what a dapper lesbian you are!” It’s perfect for the girl who already looks soo handsome in her pea coat and button-down. Maybe this is true, or maybe I’m just projecting the dream-version of myself onto your gift list. Either way, I stand by this suggestion. Pick it up in a dark grey or grey/blue for a look that’s wintery, professional and all-around sharp.

True facts: I almost always shop for my bags in the men’s section of any given store, and yet somehow they still end up looking like purses. Seriously, what the fuck is that? All I want is a clean-looking leather (or imitation leather!) over-the-shoulder messenger bag that will leave me looking like I just left the bois’ dormitories at Harvard.

Espresso machine + steamer. As a food-service industry masochist, I am someone who occasionally likes to do things I do at my job…but at home. Also, I feel entitled to chai lattes literally all of the time. It’s the perfect gift because it’s something that I would not ever buy for myself, but that I would absolutely love and use all the time (at least for the first month but maybe more) if someone gave it to me! Coffee for everyone!

I like to drink cheap wine y’all. And nothing makes you feel like you’re drinking really cheap wine more than drinking it out of mugs, pint glasses or paper Solo cups. For real. This holiday season, give your favorite cheap wine-drinker the gift of class by buying them a set of wine glasses. I especially like the stemless ones because I can balance them on top of my stomach or on my crotch whilst perusing the web.

Laneia, Executive Editor

Kitchen Timers, Whisky Stones, Jewelry, etc.

First: Matryoshka Kitchen Timer. I don’t think I can express to you how much more enjoyable my timing situations would be if THIS was my timer.

Why don’t I have these whisky stones yet? Because I haven’t bought them for myself? Well that’s a terrible reason.

So while I’m waiting for my quiche to cook and I’m sipping slightly chilled (but not watered down) whiskey, I would like to read SOME BOOKS. I just finished Dave Cullen’s Columbine, so obviously I’m in a seriously melancholy mood w/r/t stories. I think The Sisters by Nancy Jensen would be a good next step. Or, in the event that I’m faced with a mountain of free time, I really want to double-fist Miranda July’s movie The Future, along with her book It Chooses You, which she wrote while working on the film.

I want to frequently listen to the Rolling Stones’ re-release of Some Girls throughout the month of January, so that for the rest of my life, every time I heard “Do You Think I Really Care,” I’d be like, “Oh wow. Remember that one January?” That would be so great.

Also may I please, please have this Son Cubano Branch Ring by Lucky and this DKNY Willow Duvet in plum so that I can accidentally poke my eye out in bed while being very sexy and cuddly? Thank you.

Gabrielle, Writer

Wrist Paraphernalia and Other Stuff

Flud men’s turntable watch. A silver watch with a metal grey turntable as the face compliments any all black everything outfit. It’s just that dope.

Puma by Alexander McQueen. These are on my wish list because they’re not even in my size and are completely out of my price range. But goddamn, they’re sick.

Paper Artwork Virgin Mary Rhinestone Stretch Braclet. The Virgin Mary is my spiritual icon. I have a glass lamp, multiple T-shirts, some art work, candles, a menagerie of Mary in my apartment. But I do not have this bracelet.

Safco Adjustable split level work station. Sitting for too long can literally kill you. Don’t die as you write and do other nerdy awesome things, just get a new desk.

Pyle-Home PLTTB8UI Classical Vinyl Turntable Player with PC Record, iPod Player, AUX Input and Dual Fold-Out Speaker System. Sometimes, sh*t just sounds better on vinyl and maybe you just want to listen to the mixtape your first girlfriend made you on the actual CD, you know the one with her handwriting on it. And record players are retro sexy.

Chloe, Contributor

Things for your eyes, stomach and ass

Dove grey velvet fainting couch. An unexplainable, yet deep desire, I’ve always been enchanted by fainting couches (or ‘chaise lounges as they are also called). The perfect piece of furniture, chaises are more structured than a bed yet less structured than a chair. On them you can curl up or spread out; work alone or squish in with friends. Ideal for those mornings spent hung over and in repose.

Hello Kitty Toaster. Bread is my favorite food. I eat it everyday. I strongly feel that eating Hello Kitty bread every day would improve my quality of life dramatically.

1st edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude. My first copy, a cheap used paperback, was battered, stained torn, and finally lost after years of re-readings. I haven’t had the heart to buy another copy, but I think a first edition would honor the memory of my beloved original.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. Best. Thing. Ever. I had one for 6 years but it’s looking pretty rough/grimy. You should get one.

Cheap, Cute Sunglasses xInfinity. The expected lifespan of mine is about 24 hours-3 weeks, so really just keep them coming.

What do you want?

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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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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 ;__;

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.


      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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. :(

  16. 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.

  17. 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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