Autostraddle’s Ultimate Holigay Gift Guide 2015: What We Really, Really Want This Year

Carmen, Straddleverse Director / Feminism Editor


A Camera Case That Isn’t a Mom Bag

My mom and brother teamed up to get me a fancy schmancy camera for my birthday this year, and it came with a really amazing case that holds everything I could possibly ever need for my camera. But sometimes, you don’t need to bring your charger and an extra lens and the USB cords and also manuals for your accessories and camera body with you to the beach. Sometimes, you just wanna throw your camera into your backpack and live your best life without worrying you’re destroying one of the most valuable things you own. A flex case like this one makes that possible, and it fits the body of my DSLR with pretty much any lens attached. HALLELU.

An Herb Garden That Fits Anywhere

I spoiled myself earlier this year by living with someone who had an herb garden outside. I vowed to myself that I would bring the tradition with me when I moved, but I’m struggling to even figure out which grocery store to go to on the regular so it’s become a lot to ask of myself to figure out where to buy the best herbs and gardening supplies. Instead, I’m gonna hope someone buys me everything I need to have a cute, hip, windowsill herb garden instead.

A Tortoise Comb

I’ve been pining over real people combs for years, and I think it’s about time I upgraded and finally got one.

Books About Traveling Written By Women

Since my big adventure, I’ve had two distinct desires: to spend every single day driving 75 MPH toward nothing, and to read about other people doing the same thing. Traveling is such a big, awesome experience, and there’s been so many books written about adventures and exploration and finding yourself on the open road. But unfortunately, pretty much all those books are by dudes. I’ve already read Wild and The Beautifully Worthless and Snowflake/Different Streets and I’m hungry for so much more. This month, I’m begging for My Life on the Road and Anywhere But Here.

Dead Men Don’t Catcall Tote Bag

I put this in last year’s Rebel Girls gift guide because I love tote bags and hate men, but nobody bought it. This year, I am reinvigorated with desire for it because after crossing the wild west there’s a part of you that wishes you were a cowgirl, like forever.

Carolyn Yates, NSFW Editor


Nike Pro Classic Sports Bra

I started working out seriously for the first time in my adult life back in July and have been using the same sports bra — which I’ve been using since elementary school, and which I’m pretty sure was my mom’s from before she had kids (I am 27) — every single day. It has started to always feel damp, even after I run it through the dryer, which I only do if I’m feeling flush with quarters. I’m hoping a more recent model (maybe two) would let me trash the old one and dry out a little faster.

Running Tights

Though I actually do own one modern pair of pants to run in, I own only that one pair, and sometimes things get pretty gross (see above re: quarters). These have pockets and a gradient and everything.

Eve’s Hollywood

I’ve been really into reading about Los Angeles since moving to Los Angeles. This was Emily Books’s pick for November, and it was described as “Imagine a Joan Didion who likes food and drugs and rock and roll and fun, or a Weetzie Bat a couple of decades early: that’s Eve Babitz.” Sold. (There are also about a hundred other books I want to read and tons I don’t even know about yet but “library card” isn’t a very good item for a gift guide.)

Sliquid Naturals Sassy

You can never have enough lube.

Mey, Trans Editor


Steven Universe Stuff

I love Cartoon Network’s all-ages super inclusive and diverse cartoon Steven Universe. It has better queer representation than maybe any other show on TV. And it’s a super fun, really beautiful all-ages show with deep, rich characterization. It’s incredible. This Guide to the Crystal Gems book is the perfect source of information for any fan who wants to know more about how the universe of the show works. There are also some really terrific T-Shirts, whether you want to dress as Steven himself, a Cookie Cat fan or the biggest Mr. Universe fan on the planet, Rose Quartz. Finally, you can add a Crystal Gem touch to your home decor with this stylish square throw pillow case.

This 8-in-1 Kitchen Tool

Over the past year I’ve been getting more and more into cooking and baking, and I find that I always have more fun if my tools are fun. And how fun is this! I really like the simple design of it, the bright colors and the way it saves a bunch of space in the kitchen. Plus, it’s super functional. I mean, it’s got a funnel, measuring cup, juice squeezer, spice grater, egg masher, cheese grater, can opener and egg separator. Just imagine all the cool things you could make with this!

A Playstation 4

I’m allowed to ask for one big ticket item, right? When my brother and I lived together, we shared a Playstation 3, and it was great. I could play all the gay rpgs I wanted, everything from Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fallout: New Vegas. I had tons of fun going on quests, exploring the map and deciding which npc I wanted to romance. But when my brother moved to Chicago, they took the Playstation with them (they payed more money for it than I did). I really miss being able to play video games, so now I’d like to get a new one. Plus, in the upcoming Fallout 4 you get an unkillable dog companion that follows you around, so you know I want to play that.

Ali Osworth, Geekery Editor


Ready Player One

When one is in graduate school, reading for pleasure time becomes scarce and precious. That’s because we read a book a week — amazing books, too! This semester alone I’ll have read something by Joyce Johnson, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin… really, no slouch on the book list. And on top of all that, we’re writing our own books. Oh, y’all can bet I’m gonna spend Christmas break reading things I actually choose myself. I’ll be starting with Ready Player One, and then I am only limited by my word devouring speed.

Board Games

Have I mentioned that I play D&D once a week? And I’ve been enjoying boardgame nights with the same group of people whenever our DM can’t play. I’ve also been playing on Boardgame Arena (with some of you queers, even). All of this maintains my sanity during school. Last year, I wasn’t very good about having a hobby outside of writing. This year, I’m doing better. Bolstering my game collection is helping. I actually can’t decide what’s on my list this year, the above mentioned Tokaido or Betrayal (which I had the privilege of playing with some A-Campers and our very own Whitney Pow) or Dominion (how do I still not have Dominion?). Opinions, please! Which should go on my Christmas list?

A Technology-Toting Backpack

For my birthday two years ago, my mother got me a beautiful leather messenger bag. I use it for everything. But in keeping with my efforts to travel lighter around the city I live in, I would like something much lighter and with a better weight distribution for my average day. The leather bag will always be around for when I have to look like the fully-functional adult I am, but to head to the graduate library? Definitely the Herschel backpack in the window of my local independent bookstore that I’ve been eyeing. A Grid-It wouldn’t go amiss for keeping all my technology and accompanying wires organized.

Aja, Beauty Editor


Camera Strap

I found these affordable, custom leather camera straps on Etsy and immediately wanted to upgrade mine that says SMIZE. The shop is called Viveo and they have a whopping 64 options in varying leathers, widths and heft for a perfect match for you and your camera. From dainty and thin for lighter cameras to versions that look like they could have been custom-made at Mr. S, there’s something for all the shutterbugs out there.

Wookie Chic Stuff

It is rare the femme who would turn down a ridiculously chic faux fur, and this one’s awesome tonal variations and longer-than-usual bits of fluff turned me into a heart-eyes emoji instantly. I know I said I wanted a cape, but can’t I just have this or this or this instead?!

Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle

There is perfume and then there is perfume, and I can tell you that it doesn’t get more decadent than a bell jar full of Serge Lutens. The next best thing is a tall, lovely bottle of one, for half the price and a whole lot easier to come by. My pick is the elegant Tubéreuse Criminelle, with notes of tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, hyacinth, nutmeg, clove, styrax, musk and vanilla, from the exclusive range. It reminds me of my wedding day!

Bag Charms

To be honest, I didn’t get the fuss of bag charms until receiving one as a gift. It came on a sleek tote with buttery raspberry leather on one side, and a luxe pale pink on the other, with a little puffball of merlot-colored fur that I’ve constantly fondled ever since. The true charm of these little guys is how totally 80s they are — they have that collect ‘em all, trade with your gal pals vibe, and would make excellent stocking stuffers.

A Big Black Box

Confession: I’ve been storing my makeup in the bathroom. In my defense I need the light, I need to use the sink, I need to spread out and settle in and go to town! But I know it’s a big beauty no-no, so a super-organized, roomy train case like this could be the solution to making sure I have what I need at my fingertips without exposing my precious stash to the bright lights, damp humidity and high heat often found in the one room of the house I can count on for the best makeup application.

Stef, Music / Vapid Fluff Editor


Topeak Explorer Bike Rack

I know, I know, but I was really inspired by Crystal’s Working On It column and felt sort of obligated to start taking vaguely better care of myself. Among other things, I’ve started biking around the city instead of taking the train, and I hate every second of it but I can also (begrudgingly) acknowledge that it’s good for me. I don’t huff and puff and sweat and wobble when I get home like I used to, and slightly inclined hills no longer seem impossible. Anyway, I need this bike rack because I want to use my bike for things like grocery shopping and beach trips in the summer. In my fantasies I could strap a box of wine to the back and pedal off towards adventure.

Doge Necklace

Find me an occasion that calls for fancy jewelry and I will find you ten reasons why this doge necklace is 100% appropriate — such glamour, wow. If doge isn’t your style, perhaps I can interest you in this pizza slice best friend necklace.

Black Earth Botanica

I’d feel weird if I didn’t tell you that Black Earth Botanica is run by my best friend, but I feel less weird about shilling for her because I’ve bought a ton of this stuff and it’s all amazing. She grows most of the herbs herself and develops her recipes based on the astrological calendar. Black Earth Botanica makes tinctures, incense and anointing oils that make my office smell like the spiritual realm. I will never have enough.

These Terrifying Cat Panties

If anybody ever sleeps with me ever again, I really want to leave them with a lasting impression.

Lydia, Fashion & Style Editor


Denim Dudes

I picked up this tome in a bookstore about a year ago, and I should have bought it then! My denim obsession is a growing creature, and this book combines the beauty of denim with the individuality of personal style. With macro shots of pairs that have been broken in over years, and a wealth of style inspiration, I want to get my hands on this! I need new ways to wear my jeans.

Fancy Schmancy Lipstick

This item is definitely just a fantasy for me since it’s hella expensive. But in a dream world, I’m wearing a slick custom suit and this gorgeous Black Dhalia Tom Ford lipstick to every holiday party. A deep, deep red to look sultry and festive, all winter long!

A Tie Clip ‘Cause I Gotta Keep My Ties In Check

Tie clips are surprisingly uncommon, and this one is sleek and dandy. I’m dreamin’ of being an especially handsome tombabe this round of Holiday soirees, and I think this lil’ clip brings a bit of shine without being gaudy. What better to go with my fancy shmancy lipstick than a slick tie clip?

A Jean Jacket That’ll Go With Everything

After an unfortunate curry incident with my old favourite jean jacket (RIP Topman dream), I’ve been on the market for something to replace it. This lil’ topper from ASOS looks cozy enough to be an outer layer on dry days here on the West Coast and also go with everything in my closet!

Chelsey, Editorial Assistant


12 Days of Gorgeous Set

I love Benefit Comestics so much! This kit is a great way to try a bunch of products I haven’t already and see what full size products I will add to my normal routine. I’m also a huge sucker for advent calendars.

Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband

I don’t really care about fitness, but I want to track my heart rate at all times and see what kind of terrible sleep I am getting!

Wingardium Leviosa Feather Ring

I am always looking for lowkey ways to signal to the world that I am a huge Harry Potter dork, and I think this classy, yet adorable ring is perfect for this.

Boy Meets World: The Complete Series

Boy Meets World is one of my favorite shows of all time and it breaks my heart that it isn’t on any streaming sites and I have no way to watch “And Then There Was Shawn” whenever I want! This box set will solve 30% of my problems in life, is what I am saying.

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  1. I want everything on Mey’s list too, even though I now realize that the rainbow-colored bottle is kitchen tools and not really gay vodka.

    Stef, those cat panties! I thought I was looking at a cat peeking into a box from the perspective of the bottom of the box. I was like, “Is this a poster? Some kind of cat toy I’ve never seen?” Nope! It’s cat panties!

  2. @laura-m If you are looking to do macro, there is always the option of going with a close up filter. I’ve seen some going for as low as $20(for a more common filter size). I’m thinking about going this route for myself as a macro lens for my camera system cost $$$, and I don’t have the option of going older Canon, Nikon, or Minolta macro lenses.

  3. On the topic of of books about traveling written by women, I recommend Tracks: One Woman’s Journey across 1600 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson. I listened to the audiobook a couple months ago. It’s about traveling, but it’s also about a lot of other things (like racism against aboriginals) and other really interesting and profound topics, and I found it utterly compelling. Plus, the audiobook was read by an Aussie woman so it was super nice to listen to as well.

    • Seconding this recommendation! Tracks is an amazing book. My mom gives it to every woman in our extended family upon graduating high school. It’s a great read during times of transition and/or traveling.

      • You’re welcome! I went through a phase a while back where I listened to a bunch of survival stories (Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, Dead Mountain) and all of them were good, but Tracks had a narrative quality that really stuck with me. I hope you enjoy it!

    • @carmenrios I came to say exactly the same thing! Tracks is beautiful and odd and stubborn and unlike other travel narratives. Film is worth watching too, though it doesn’t delve into her inner monologue as much.

  4. I 100% recommend the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition book. I bought it for my birthday and it’s even more gorgeous that I expected. There’s something exciting on every page. get it get it GO GO GO GO GO

    • promise me that if someone gets you both the burr grinder and the infrared thermometer you’ll use them together for the perfect coffee!
      (PS I broke my Hario Skerton jar and am now a Porlex convert. apparently the burrs don’t wear down as fast even if it’s not quiiite as consistent as the Skerton.)

  5. -Rachel that coffee grinder is half off right now! Make your dreams come true.

    -Yvonne: best rice cookers? I don’t have one but god bless the internet and its overabundance of information/choices.

    -I just got lost in the accessories section of Wildfang’s site. Had a laugh at the “SORRY I’M SUCH AN ASSHOLE” balloons.

  6. I want a FitBit for the same reasons as Chelsey. I couldn’t care less about how many flights of stairs I move in a day or have caller ID on my wrist BUT heart rate and sleep are such cool features!! I want them to make a model that’s cheaper and just has those features for those of us who just don’t care about the rest.

    • i have one for those features and it is wonderful! however sometimes when i lie in bed for hours stressing out about every little thing, it seems to think i am asleep, which i am most definitely not. :-(

      • That would be my ideal device! Riese, I am sad to hear that it registers lying awake at night stressing about every little thing as sleep :(

        • i actually thought it was 100% accurate and insightful until this one night that i barely slept at all and it said i slept a lot. however it did say i was often “restless” and also honestly just having it on somehow motivates me to try and get a good amount of sleep. i think because i know if i ever wake up and it says like, 4 hours 14 minutes, i’ll probably just give up and die instead of trying to make it through the day. i’m curious to find out how accurate it is at camp.

  7. I just bought the Harry Potter illustrated edition as my Christmas present to my mom. I am such a good daughter! (also, I want to immediately borrow it from her as soon as she’s done reading it so maybe I’m only a so-so daughter).

  8. @yvonne if you can get into a costco, they’ve got that coloring book and some other gorgeous ones by the same company! I saw them a couple weeks ago and was ver intrigued

  9. If you like a camp fire smell, Alex, this shampoo from Lush is highly recommended.
    It makes your shower smell campy but doesn’t really linger in your hair.

    I came home once to my roommates convinced something in the walls was on fire when I first bought it. It is also great for your scalp.

    • I clicked your link because I was so excited about this, but the description says it’s been reformulated to smell warm and sweet instead of smoky. :( Do you think it’s drastically different?

      • ah man, why would they do that???

        I don’t know… it’s been a little while since I bought a new bar. :( I’ll probably pass by Lush before the end of the week, so I’ll pop in and give it a sniff and let you know.

  10. Rachel, I can confirm that the infrared food thermometer is lots of fun and actually useful!

    Chelsey, have you been watching “Girl Meets World”? They have carried over some storylines and Shawn has made several guest appearances. A bunch of Cory’s family has actually. Still no sign of that little sister that disappeared upstairs for years though, lol.

    KaeLyn, I also love “Inside Out” and cried as well. Have you seen “Wreck-It Ralph”? That one gets me too.

    Maddie, there are some good jigsaw puzzle apps out there. I have one where you can make it super easy or super hard. With our two cats doing actual jigsaw puzzles is tricky.

    • Not to get off-topic Besides the Christmas one(which is on Netflix), what other episodes has Shawn been in? What about Eric? And he now also has a little brother who is in high school, which I don’t remember from Boy Meets World.

      • Oh geez… There was an episode where Maya got a new wardrobe that Shawn was in, there was a whole storyline about Maya’s crush on the teenage brother, another storyline about Eric and politics…

        That’s the shows IMDb page. Shawn was in three episodes in Season 1. So far in Season 2 there have been 6 episodes with someone from the original show- Shawn, Eric or Mr. Turner. Mr. Feeney was briefly in the first episode and also in Girl meets Pluto.

        Hope this helps :)

      • I’ve been impressed that they have brought back pretty much everyone important from the original show in some capacity. Cory’s family has been on. Shawn has been in 5 episodes. Feeny and Eric have been in three episodes. Turner in two. They also brought back Angela for an episode this season. And I think Shawn’s dead dad appeared to him as well. Minkus has been in several episodes since he is the father of one of Cory’s daugther’s friends. More importantly Rider Strong has directed many of the episodes and Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are co-producers on the show.

    • Yes, “Wreck-It Ralph” is also very sweet and made me do some tears and I love how it turned the princess movie on its head.

      I bought myself Inside Out because I just couldn’t wait and I watched it again twice and then watched all the special features and it was worth it!!! It’s a film of incredible depth, even though it’s a movie for kids. Bing bong Bing bong! ::tears::

  11. Yvonne, there’s this Sony Bravia Smart TV that my parents have and they love it! Comes with internet connectivity and everything, including PlayStation Now compatibility so you can play video games right on it too!
    I want so many things on this list, but mostly I’m asking for a Gal Pal hoodie for a gift because what the heck they look so good!!!

  12. Rachel- my dad’s had an infrared thermometer lying around the house for years and until about thirty seconds ago I had no idea that it even had a purpose other than ‘point it at furniture/your cat/your brother and see how warm they are’


    I have unashamedly asked for socks for 3 years in a row (and also for a few years in jr high and high school) because warm wool socks are fucking expensive

  14. “…and also practicing how to curl ribbon over and over again in the middle of the night.”

    Don’t open the scissors, just keep the scissors closed and use the flat edge. You don’t need the sharp side for the ribbon to curl, just something flat. I have a seasonal job wrapping presents at a local art gallery and I wrap so many things this time of year, I can probably wrap gifts/curl ribbons in my sleep. The scissors trick is the greatest thing I have learned there and has saved me from cutting my hand off.

    • You just changed my whole world. Seriously. I imagine this also prevents ribbon shredding from too-sharp scissors. Into it.

  15. that laptop stand though!! that whole etsy store! And also the whole thing about uncoated stainless steel cooking things @green, i feel that 1000000000% i just want pretty kitchenware forever. (does autostraddle have a williams-sonoma affiliate link? for #domesticqueers?)

  16. laneia, the southerner’s cookbook is lovely. my mom got it recently, and I really regret that I didn’t sit down and read the whole thing while I was home for thanksgiving. I did, however, assist her in making “bacon crackers” which are a 1950s culinary marvel featured in the cookbook and which are surprisingly tasty.

  17. Listen. Don’t buy Fallout 4. I have had no life ever since getting that game. I should be ashamed but I’m kind of not.

  18. Well, this just about covers my friends (and me. cause Eve’s Hollywood is coming home with me today.)

  19. Craigslist, in say late-January/early-February, is an awesome place to get home gym stuff. Also garage sales.

    Or pick up TRX straps (or go super hardcore and DIY them with $20 worth of stuff from Home Depot).

  20. My Lesbian Coloring Pages (adult themes colouring pages) are now a digital download for only $3.99 you can buy and print as many as you need! I have a signup feature to try and keep kids from accessing the link but if anyone remembers them from my old website – they are available here:!blank/ei1zl

    20 pages of colouring!

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