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.
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.
Books, Screenprinting & Warmth
The Art of Fielding. This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Pillow. This 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 Hat. Everyone 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 Latest. I 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!
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.
Big Dreams & Photography Books
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?