Autostraddle’s Ultimate Team Holigay Gift Guide 2020: Presents Produce Serotonin, Right? RIGHT???

Well, here we are: it’s the end of November. Maybe you’re planning to get some people in your life some gifts over the next few weeks. Maybe you’re planning to get yourself some gifts! We don’t know about you but online shopping is one of the only things bringing us joy right now, especially when we shop at small businesses and help keep them alive!

Speaking of: incase you didn’t know, doing your holigay shopping (or any kind of shopping, actually) through our Affiliate Marketplace helps Autostraddle! We get a tiny percentage of every purchase you make via our affiliates, at no extra cost to you. It’s extremely helpful and we’re very grateful when you do it. We worked hard to highlight some of the truly special shops we have affiliate programs with in this gift guide, and we hope it helps you find that perfect present, whether you knew you needed it or not!

Without further ado, here’s what Team Autostraddle wants for the holigays! We hope it helps you with your holigay shopping whether you’re choosing things for your loved ones, for yourself, or hey, maybe even for us!


Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

I’m so tired. What do I want this December? I don’t know, for things to be entirely different in every single way? In lieu of that, I suppose I’ll take quirky art created by my friends, soft clothing that I’ll do my best to make slutty, books, and sex toys. It’s good to know that I may be sad and listless, but I’m still me.


Let me be clear: All I want for the holidays is a local, talented, poly, communicative, and covid-precaution-taking rope or piercing top. But it’s a pandemic so sometimes you (I) gotta be the top you (I) wanna see in the world, and since fibers from my jute rope get caught in my leggings I want something a little bit smoother. Other things that are smooth: these Muji pens, the wax from these candles, and you, sliding into my DMs.


Ro White, S L I C K Editor

This winter I’ll be battling my reinvigorated anxiety by going on long, winter walks, making my home feel cozy, reading inspiring books and trying every single self-soothing technique I’ve ever heard of. 
I guess I want the kind of gifts you’d get for your aging hippie dad who sold out, left the co-op and spent a lot of money decorating his new cabin while still maintaining most of his political ideals. Or maybe I just need an excuse to own a too-expensive candle.


These selections represent my present interests in this time of quarantine: skin care, geography and being comfortable inside my home while looking at nice things on the walls.


What is there left to even say about this year? 2020 has been so much. After getting divorced and setting up my own place for the first time in over a decade, I’m leaning into the staying-at-home aesthetic hard. I want beautiful things that will make my apartment feel luxurious and comfortable, as well as some new professional and personal toys to play with.


Abeni Jones, Contributor

If you’re like me – equal parts outdoorsy backpacking nerd and indoorsy video game nerd, then you’re hard to shop for! Here’s what I’d want, though – a crash pad for once I’m healed enough from top surgery that I can go bouldering again, and a hammock set for once the weather’s good enough and I can go backpacking without a tent.

While I wait out the winter, though – I’ll still be camping, but sleeping in a tent instead of a hammock – I’ll also want to up my video game game. I’m just getting into streaming, but because I’m primarily a Switch player I’ll need a capture card to make THAT work. The Elgato HD60S is the gold standard. I’d also like to branch into Xbox, though, too! I’ve been slowly getting into PC gaming, and Xbox seems to share a lot with PC? I think? I just know I can play some retro-style indie games on there, and it seems like I can share cloud saves and stuff with my PC? I don’t know, I’m sure if someone wanted to drop $500 on a console for me, I’d figure it out. Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be the hot upcoming next-gen game!


Heather Hogan, Senior Writer & TV Editor

1 / Mariposa Supersoft Organic Cotton Blanket ($148) 2 / Paddywax Great Smoky Mountains Soy Wax Candle ($35) 3 / REI Co-op Wallace Lake Flannel Shirt ($65) 4 / Apple Watch ($399) 5 / Neo-Walk Lucite Walking Stick ($130) 6 / Compression Socks ($50)

This holigay season I want what I’ve always wanted for all holigay seasons: to be cozy at home, which means super soft blankets (that my cats will eventually steal), candles that smell like tomboys in the snowy woods, and flannel shirts that smell like me (a tomboy who loves the woods). What’s new this holigay season is that I’m learning to live with POTS, so it’s all about managing my variable heart rate and blood oxygen levels; and keeping myself from toppling over when I stand up and move, which means I’d like some new tech, a new mobility aid, and some new compression socks!


Natalie , Writer

Everything I’m eyeing for the holigays this year — both for myself and for everyone on my list — revolves around gently urging everyone to spend their winter months enjoying the comforts of home. Hopefully new gifts can revitalize the quarantine experience and make what seems old, new again. For me, I’m ready to curl up in my WNBA Hoodie and try to keep up with my nephews on the Nintendo Switch. Or maybe listen to some vinyl, as I do some leisure reading.


Archie Bongiovanni, Cartoonist

1 / Orihea Sleeping Mask ($7.99) 2 / Snap Strap On Harness ($220) 3 / Crystal T-Handle Plug ($40) 4 / We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth ($28) 5 / Candle Making Kit ($28)

I’d love a new sleeping mask, as that is the majority of what I’m doing nowadays. I’m so attracted to Rand Leather’s new harness design – it and the Crystal T-Handle butt plug are such rad designs I can’t help but lust after them! I’m also pre-ordering books so they can be future surprises to myself when they arrive in the mail. Will making a candle help me skim above my depression? Only one way to find out!


Kamala Puligandla, Editor-in-Chief

I’m gonna be real and tell you that I’m not waiting for some kind, generous soul to gift me the things on this list — because I’ve already bought most of them for myself! And I have no regrets at all. I’m getting ready for LA pandemic winter and want to be cute as fuck, warm, comfortable and able to enjoy outdoor spaces, including my own little yard.


Shelli Nicole, Culture Editor

The first and obvious thing I want for Christmas is a new computer, my current one is nearly 7 years old and literally held together with tape and needs a bluetooth keyboard to function, yet I still manage to churn out sweet lezzie pieces that send you all to your dykey happy places. I can’t afford to buy my own without going bankrupt so duh – be a sweet sugar mommi and send it my way. Everything else on my list is because currently – at this very moment – I feel remarkably sad. I hope by the time this comes out a sweeter feeling has started to take its place but if not… plants, dresses and perfect panties always help bring joy my way.


Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor

I have spent more time alone this year than I think I collectively ever had in my entire life leading up to this. A few weeks ago, I stopped seeing the person I’d been having cute pandemic park dates with because we absolutely could not figure out a way to make it safe, so I’m staring down the barrel of a loooong winter. Having a great time over here! With that in mind, I am looking for creature comforts, things to make my (temporary) home feel more inviting, ways to binge watch shows without my laptop, and skincare (Someone somewhere told me that that cleanser is really good for the zits you get from wearing a mask.). Happy holidays!!!!!


Have you heard I moved to Florida? Because I recently moved to Florida, and now my entire aesthetic reflects thusly. I’m a beach dyke now!!!!!! But arguably, I have always been a beach dyke in my heart. I think these gifts capture the person I have become upon living in Miami for approximately five seconds. Also tbh I picked a specific beach dress for the sake of this list but I covet just about any dress that can be simply thrown over a bikini. The lil bb Le Creuset dishes are a bit of a wildcard on this list but they’re something I’ve always wanted for the kitchen but never actually buy for myself??? Specifically, I want to make chawanmushi with them.


Nicole Hall, A+ & Fundraising Director

Somehow, I’ve been just making it through the winters by strapping snow grips over my hiking boots and making do, but the thing is, my Raynaud Syndrome makes it super painful if I get too cold and the literal blood starts to drain out of my fingers and toes. So! This winter it would be a dream come true to actually invest in a pair of quality, warm boots. Also in self-care is a reciprocating saw because I am TIRED of chopping things that we tear out of the house apart with the budget version which is a carpenter’s hatchet and hammer. No more! Someday, I’ll be back in the world, wearing collared shirts and dresses with collars, and for that time, I think it’s prudent to build up a good collection of collar pins, and in the Autostraddle spirit, why not start with some scissors? With that, I have ONE necklace from Collarbone Jewelry and it’s gorgeous and I’m not over it, so it never hurts to have my eye on another. In the now, we’re spending a lot of time, anxiously, inside, and my partner has gotten me into this houseplant thing. I found one here that seems virtually indestructable — even in drafty conditions and low natural light which sounds about right for where it would be living if it were to make its way into our home. Beautiful! Finally, it’s about to be winter. Massages usually involve exposed skin. A massage candle from Enby will make that a much better experience. That, and I’m always into bergamot.


Drew Gregory, Writer

Okay what I really want are tattoos and to travel and to use the strap on I bought after the last gift guide BUT THAT IS NOT THE WORLD WE’RE LIVING IN RIGHT NOW. So instead I’m asking for a preorder of Torrey Peters’ debut novel Detransition, Baby that *fingers crossed* I actually might be getting in time for Christmas because I am “press.” I’m also asking for the new iPhone, because I’ve been shooting movies during quarantine on my phone, so it seems like a good investment to upgrade. Next I’m asking for a print of this Gerda Wegener painting — I’m writing an essay about The Danish Girl right now and it has sent me down a rabbit hole obsessing over Wegener’s work. And I’m asking for Talk That Talk on vinyl, because my roommates have a record player so I’ve been buying records for the first time since 2015.

Finally, I really want a robe! Anytime I’ve used a robe when staying in a hotel I’ve felt so luxurious and apparently you do not need to stay in a hotel to have a robe! I couldn’t decide between something decadently cozy and something decadently sexy but this gift guide is noncommittal so I decided to go with both.


Adrian , Contributor

In my world, Christmas is a perfect time to get the versions of things that are a little nicer than what I might normally buy myself.

I am a sucker for a perfect flannel, and REI’s Wallace Lake line is perfect so I’m assuming this flannel is also perfect. I want it on my body!!!! I am alway cold and my spouse Wynn is not, so I tend to layer inside the apartment. My $20 Target flannels do just fine, but this shirt just looks so dreamy!!!

The Bible With and Without Jesus is the newest book by Dr. A.J. Levine, my professor at Vanderbilt and probably the smartest person I have ever had the honor of meeting. We are having an extra long winter break this year so I need some books about the Bible to read for fun while I am on a break from reading books about the Bible for class! But since it’s new, it’s only available on hardcover. Normally I’d wait for paperback, but tis this season!!!

Finally, I am out of brow gel, and this shit is the only way my face looks like my face on Zoom, so I need a refill! Normally I’d wait until I was fully out and then be annoyed about being out of it for two months before I replaced it, but maybe just this once I can get ahead of the game.


Rachel Kincaid, Managing Editor

1 / Arwen’s Lobotomy Blend ($9) 2 / Olaplex No. 3 ($28) 3 / Leo Belt ($85) 4 / Window Hanging Planter ($40.99) 5 / Glass Wall Planters ($24) 6 / Wall Mirror ($50)

What I would most like is to sleep in a glass coffin in a secluded forest dale doted on by chirping woodland creatures until the butch of my dreams comes to wake me with a kiss in roughly mid-2021, but excepting that, I will take these things. Difficult times often bring out the most extreme or distilled version of ourselves, and at the end of the day I am a Leo; I would like these items to make myself even more beautiful that I may then lightly sedate myself surrounded by plants and take in the whole scene in literally a giant mirror.


Laneia Jones, Executive Editor

Trying to create a vibe here. Trying to live a dream.


Sarah Sarwar, Design & Marketing Director

Looking to really upgrade and chill out this winter, and I think these things are going to make me feel that way. My pod and I meet in a garage and I love bringing over absolutely everything to mix delicious and fancy cocktails, so this baby pink Yeti Cooler will up my game significantly. I’ve got the luxurious drape of dark linen sheets, but I’d love to get this black bamboo fitted sheet under me for a dual-sensation sandwich of MmMmMmMMmm for my tired body. Also don’t let this candle deceive you — it’s the size of a small trashcan, lol. I’ve been obsessed with the Moso Bamboo scent for awhile and burned through about 8 of the regular sized candles… so I’m just like, when am I going to actually break down and get this huge fucking monstrosity. MON-STRO-SITYYYY. Probably tonight. Last but not least, I am really leaning into my sweatpants aesthetic and am digging these sweet, oversized sweats from ASOS. Okay everyone… hope you make your dreams come true!


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20 Comments

  1. I know it’s an affliate link, but $329 for that monstera is extremely expensive, and so are the other plants from that site. Not sure what they’d cost on average in the US, but I found one here that’s €16,99 and is 80 cm tall. Without the pot, and it’s a nice pot, but is it really worth over $300?

    I’m also not the person who’d ever pay $200 for a candle. Ever. Maybe if it was somehow magical and would burn for a century.

    The Brilliant Maps book is great, I’m totally checking that out!

    We don’t have a tradition of Christmas gifts, but I’d put chocolate on my list. And woolen socks. That’s all I need. Donate all the money that’s left to refugee charities.

    • I am also not sure I want to pay $200 for a candle, and it was me who put it in the guide! :D I really do love the scent though. If I end up buying it I’ll let you know how it lasts. According to the Voluspa website it will burn for 250 hours!! 😱

  2. Im going second Glitch Feminism as gift idea. I’ve become increasingly cynical about the digital space. Reading glitch feminism was fun/challenging because it pushed back on some of my negative idea of what the online world is and can be.

    • How do you feel about wool? Because I use to have extremely frigid hands and feet al winter, and since I started to wear woolen socks this is almost gone and I have to use my heating far less. I wear fingerless woolen mits indoors too, they’re great if you’re typing a lot. I knit them myself, they’re fairly easy to make if you knit. Also darning socks is very oldschool, but means you have to replace socks far less.

  3. I say this having redone my entire house (walls, floors, electrical, plumbing) with a corded Kobalt reciprocating saw that cost $60 – I love a reciprocating saw as much as anyone but spending over $200 on one is just unnecessary. If you have $70 instead of $270 suffer no more and just get a cheaper one, they work just as well (if not better, seeing as whether it’s comfortable to hold is really the major concern for reciprocating saws IMO).

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