FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Best (Gift) You Ever Had

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Hi, mugs full of mulled wine! Welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread, a meeting of the witch coven funded by Autostraddle dot com. (Usually I open with a joke, but that seems a little too real.) But still. JK! This is our weekly space to share our stories, commiserate with one another, and post photos of our partners, pets, and projects. But you can totally tell me all about your witchcraft in here, too. Just so we’re clear.

The holigay season is in full swing, and chances are that means you’ve already spent a fair amount of time reflecting on what to buy someone else and what you wish people would buy for you. I mean, I know that I spent approximately a hundred hours in the last month doing this sort of reflection, so I assume I’m not alone and I’d really like for you to prove me right in that.


I still remember, vividly, so many of my favorite gifts. When I was really little, I forgot to send Santa my wish list, and my mom told me instead to leave it out on Christmas Eve; when I woke up, everything I’d asked for was under the tree. When I was 16, I got an iMac that I still refuse to let go of; when I was in college, I finally unwrapped a DSLR. And last year, Geneva’s Christmas gift for me was essentially everything I’d ever wanted in my entire life, down to the car, packaged neatly and adorably. Getting the right gift feels super magical, and it’s that thing that makes gift-giving and receiving so much fun to begin with. Every gift could be the best gift ever, and even if it isn’t, it’s still pretty damn good.

So, tell me: what’s the best gift you ever got for the holigays? (I am especially interested in anyone who has ever unwrapped a box with a puppy inside, and also pictures of this.) If you’re not as into optimism or need someone to share your pain, feel free to also remind us of the worst and most awkward gifts you’ve ever gotten, too. And if you have good, bad, funny, or really any stories at all about giving gifts, PUT THEM RIGHT HERE. If you’re really not about this entire conversation or the holiday season, though, stick around! Come on down and tell us about your life, your plans for the weekend, and whether my job as someone who is moving out of an apartment is to eat all of my food now in an effort to get rid of it or to save as much as possible for when I finally return to a new place after Christmas break.

What I’m saying is, leave a f*cking comment. It might be the best damn thing I get this year, after all. As always, I’ll answer pet photos with more pet photos and love you a little bit more every time you respond to one another down there.

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3. Go forth and jam.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. best gift I ever had was yesterday : I GOT MY PHD YOU GUYS. I ruled the defense, and earned highest honors.

    I’m gonna get so drunk this christmas.

  2. I don’t have any witch powers, sadly, but I did go as Ginny Weasley to a Con once (my hair color matches hers rather than Hermione’s). So, I can at least pretend.

    I’ll share an awkward Christmas gift anecdote. 

    My first semester of college, the RA of my dorm floor decided to do a Secret Santa exchange. I had no idea what the get the girl I drew (I didn’t even really know her), so I ended up getting her a gift certificate to the student union store, since there was all sorts of handy stuff she might need to buy there. I never found out who drew me, but whoever it was, she got me a pregnancy test and a box condoms (as an aside, if you need the pregnancy test, it might be a bit late for the condoms, but I guess that’s for future carefulness?) I assume it was supposed to be funny. I just kinda shrugged and laughed it off (I didn’t feel like there was much else I could have done).

    For a heartwarming story, my dad bought a really expensive bottle of Scotch whiskey (Glenlivet, something like $300 or something) one Christmas and “insisted” I share it with him. That’s why it was the best Christmas ever! =)

  3. I already got my Christmas present this year: my dream girl.

    I recently left a long-term, bad relationship with plans to break from all the walls I’d built for myself & travel. I quit my job and left North Carolina to live with friends back in Indiana until I had travel plans arranged. I decided to contact my ex who I hadn’t spoken to in over three years, for a multitude of reasons; I was apprehensive since I was 93% sure she hated/resented me. We only broke up because she followed her dreams to Alaska and my pansy, teenage ass couldn’t handle the distance. (She had also lent me two grand to buy a car, and I only ever paid back about two hundred.)

    WELL GUESS WHAT! She just happened to be visiting Indiana this winter for the first time in years and let me stay in a room at her parents house rent-free for the winter, so I could save money and get my shit figured out. We discovered we’ve both been in love with each other this whole time, the last two weeks have been a fucking fantasy, and next February I’ll be living on a boat in a Alaska with the woman I fell in love with when I was 18. WHAT IS MY LIFE?!

    So there’s the ultra-condensed version of my best present ever.

  4. Hmm well speaking of presents my friends all gave each other gifts but forgot me. Everyone at school yesterday had their dragon-shaped candles and Hanukkah sweaters and there I was, carrying around my colored pencil box to look like one of the cool kids with a gift. Still. I do have friends. That’s a gift enough in itself, right? And I like to give things to people. Last year I made forty hand-illustrated compliment books with quotes and nice things about the person inside. It was kind of the worst and I was up until 3 in the morning the night before a math final finishing them, but everyone loved them and I got a perfect score on that final, so. This year I just took some quotes and illustrated them for a few best friends and my girl person, but they were much appreciated.

    And speaking of my girl person, I haven’t talked to her about whether recent events make her my girlfriend person now, even though I said I would. I didn’t see her much this week because of rehearsal and now the semester is over and I don’t get back to school for a month. It’s hard because there’s always people around and it’s just so difficult for us to have a moment alone together. I do think I’m making progress towards my goal of fulfilling as many baby dyke clichés as possible, though. The Almost Girlfriend is common lore, so I’m told. As is the “oh look we’re sitting next to each other and now our shoulders are touching but neither of us is gonna move away because that would be admitting our shoulder are touching and also it’s probably the most physical we can get in this theater of two hundred people.” Or maybe that one’s just me.

    I had some killer outfits this week but forgot to take pictures. Oops. My nose still resembles Rudolph’s from when I was sick, but it’s been a really long time since I posted a picture so I should get on that. Maybe later I’ll dress up for that express purpose.

    • Get on those outfit pictures–I need some holiday outfit inspiration and you never disappoint!

      I know you’ll figure out the girl person situation, but in the meantime savor that sweet awkwardness! Maybe take some walks together? That’s always good for getting away!

      Also you can definitely get closer than that in a theater, full or no. Just saying. ;)

      • I will then! If I don’t get out of my pajamas today then it’ll be tomorrow, but I will.

        Ooh yes walks, I hadn’t thought of that but it’s a good idea.

        I’m quite sure it is possible to get closer than that in a crowded theater; however when it is your school’s theater and there are teachers and people you know every two feet, it can sometimes be a good idea to restrain oneself. The joys of youth. (Actually, though, I’m terrified of the near future when I will become an adult and everyone will expect me to have my life together, so I’m okay being a youth right now.)

        • I was an over achiever in my youth, but have since lowered everyone’s expectations. Don’t worry too much about growing up–everything will straighten out with time :)(except our sexualities heheheh)

    • That gift thing is hard. It sounds like you’ve leveled out in terms of seeking validation. This is lifelong learning. You’re doing so well. :)). You and Girl Person are either in the throes of subtle seduction, or not dating. It sounds like the first one!! Make time to figure this out. Not having time sounds like cold feet on a hard walk. Go dooo eet! ;D

  5. At my old job we had a white elephant gift exchange every year, and one time my co-worker brought in this beautifully wrapped gift which turned out to be a huge, framed, autographed black and white photo of himself. He was a quiet, unassuming, fortysomething dad type figure so it was totally unexpected.

    I am notoriously bad at giving gifts, and the first holiday season my partner and I were together I gave her like, ten gifts because I was overexcited. I’ve been kicking myself since then because I already used up all the good gift ideas I’m ever gonna have.

    • This last part is my life right now.There are like six totally adorable gifts that would be perfect for my girlfriend for Christmas. I’m trying to pace myself.To ensure that our relationship lasts, I’m going to hint at the fact that if she sticks around until next Christmas her odds of receiving another gift are quite good.

      • My cousin did a version of this one year; his was three small pictures of himself in a triptych frame, and also a he wrote poem about himself, dedicated to the present-getter. My sister had it in her room for years because it was so hilarious!

  6. Best gift was a precious copy of the Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature, which I dearly wanted but had just been published and was exorbitantly expensive even on the secondary market. A good friend managed to find one in her local used bookstore. I cried.

  7. The best gift I ever received was the Christmas of 1993, when my sisters and I unwrapped our first Super Nintendo and realized that the pinnacle of gaming was finally in our hands. To this day, it’s still my favorite system.

    In other holiday news, I’ve been reading the letters on Your Holiday Mom, and they are warming the very cockles of my heart.

    • Legit started crying during the first paragraph of the first letter, and I have a pretty great family! I’m not sure which part of the heart is the cockle, but I’m pretty sure mine are warming up as well :)

    • Wait till you play SNES on your phone(along with some of the other Nintendo systems) it’s like that game you kept blowing into but stopped working, never did stop working.

  8. Way back when, I got a password journal from GirlTech and you would have thought I won the lottery. My almost-preteen self became obsessed with keeping a diary though I’d never expressed interest. My choice of passwords at that age though were great. I have fond memories of screaming ‘Rocket Power’ and ‘N’SYNC’ at this hunk of plastic. I was pretty…cool.

    • Rocket Power is the most hilarious password I’ve ever heard and I wish I could use it but now it’s too late

    • My high school architecture teacher, who is a real cool person, did some drawings for a Rocket Power episode. He even had a still of the episode he drew on the wall in class.

    • I totally had that exact same password journal!!! This was when I was 7 or 8, and my best friend had moved to a different city, so whenever we visited each other we would write down ALL OUR SECRETS in the journal. The secrets were usually, “Little brothers are so annoying!” We thought we were so cool.

  9. Hey guys!! it’s almost Christmas! Happy holigays! It’s getting colder out here in SoCal which to some people it’s still warm! We wore santa, reindeer and elf hats the other day at work and sang carols to our boss. We also had our Christmas party on Sunday which was really fun. It was pretty much getting drunk, dancing like crazy and taking A LOT of pictures. LOL. But what about you guys?

    I already have half of my dream gift which is my wife + cat + stuffed monkeys. The other half is yet to come! =) I’m going to the Philippines in January (which is a gift in itself) and I get to spend a whole month out of the calendar year with my person. I got her a very special gift. Does anyone want to take a guess? LOL. And I bought myself a watch. I used (still use) my other one for like 10 years, it was given to me when I graduated High School.

    I’ve been really addicted again to Pottermore you guys. Like all the time I have to brew potions and duel for house points. NERD ALERT.

    oh yeah! And my wife had her birthday!!! Yesterday!! =) She went to karaoke with her co-workers and I did a video call with her. The cat just wanted the string from the balloon and seemed oblivious to all the celebrating.

    Look guys, I can be festive too.

    my birthday wife.

    This is the cat. He has discovered what a bird is and also knows where the window is now.

    This is the metal earth I made. I waited a month and a half for this to be in stock and it was really hard to find. Very popular I guess or they don’t make enough. lol. It’s a real pretty piece.
    St. Basil’s Cathedral

  10. Also also, I just watched The L Word for the first time. Guys. Seriously. What is this show?! It’s so ridiculous and I can’t wait to watch more.

  11. Last year a friend gave me a recycled Altoids tin filled with different colored craft paper cut to fit perfectly in the tin. Each paper had a different reason why my friend loves me, and memories, and drawings. So many happy tears and feels!

  12. Growing up, my parents tried to encourage my interests in technical fields by putting the science section of the NY Times in front of me, and my dad always made sure to point out the cool space related articles. Alas, I became a graphic designer, but I still fell in love with the cosmos. A few years ago my dad got me a giant sized book of photos from the Hubble Deep Field Telescope. I don’t think I’ve even been so surprised and excited for a gift. It’s a beautiful collection of images. I’ve spent many a late and sleepless night paging through it until I finally fall asleep.

  13. Right now, I am (intermittently) packing my suitcase to go to the States and see a certain American. That’s a pretty awesome Christmas present in itself.

    Growing up, most memorable Christmas presents are the time I just got a shedload of books (that was awesome) and the year we got a Playstation (the first one), which I think was mainly for my brother but which I definitely commandeered to play Crash Bandicoot for hours on end.

  14. My guide to x-mas gift giving:

    Step 1) Buy highly inappropriate but hilarious x-mas cards.

    Step 2)Add Money to them.

    Step 3) Write: “Go buy yourself something nice.”

    As for the best x-mas gift ever received? When I got my very first pair of rollerblades. So awesome.

    I’m currently at the office all alone, wishing I could text my cat. There, I said it.

    • I feel bad telling my family I just want money for christmas but like…I feel weirder asking for a scissoring sweatshirt so they can just fund it unknowingly.

      So good job, A+ classic gifting!

    • Its okay Ive asked my wife to leave her cp on if the cat’s in her room so I can talk to him while she does laundry. Hahaha.

  15. The year I went to live with my Aunt, she bought my cousin a kitten named Sophie. He was not a brat or anything, and they already had a cat, this wasn’t the *least* responsible thing they could ever have done. But he also got a new star wars video game, so I co-opted this particular gift for a disproportionate amount of time. I was sleeping in the living room then, and she would come mew pathetically at the couch until I picked her up and let her nap on me. I don’t have any kitten pictures, but she grew up to be a precious little lady.

    • I forgot to mention how my Aunt went to get her xmas eve, and stashed her in a carrier in the garage with a space heater. She was so worried that she got us up early and made Sophie the first gift.

  16. I forgot to mention this but not gonna lie probably the best present I’ve ever received (aside from love and kindness and all) was when I got my computer last year because no one had ever gifted me technology before and I sorely needed one. I haven’t named her yet even though it’s been eleven months, but I’m thinking about calling her Jesus because every now and then she shuts down and won’t turn on until she rises again on the third day.

  17. I think the best present I got was a puppy when I was like 12? I wrote my parents all these letters and essays for like two years on why I wanted one/would take good care of one, and it was the best Christmas ever (sadly my mental health was shit and I wasn’t in a good enough place to take care of him, but he lived a long happy life with my grandparents until two years ago). And like, being in the therapy program I’m in is still like the best gift I’ve ever been given so yeah, cause thats like a gift that keeps on giving, loving to be alive and shit.
    Also it’s my 21st birthday today and people have been calling to tell me good things and have sent me so much love so that’s also a fantastic gift :)
    idk im just in a generally really good mood (usually i hate my birthday) and im glad i can like fangirl about myself for a day haha

    hope everyone had a great week, and has an even better weekend!

  18. I think losing my comments on friday open threads is like my new thing or something. second week in a row of it, anyway. moving on…!

    I guess in a manner of speaking, my parents gave me a girlfriend for Christmas last year? they funded my trip to visit a friend over New Years, and that trip directly led to me dating that girl for a while. even though the romance didn’t last, still a pretty good gift! …let’s all agree not to talk about it with my parents though.

    when I was 11 or 12, my aunt and uncle gave me foam bath toys for Christmas. after opening the present, I kept waiting for them to explain that there’d been a mix-up and that the gift was actually for my baby sister, but no dice. I guess they wanted to make sure I was all brushed up on my letters and numbers…while encouraging good hygiene?

    last week I had exciting reports of Christmas gift-purchasing triumphs (mom and sisters covered), but I’ve fizzled since then. still don’t have anything for my dad or any of my friends. I’ve managed to play a lot of minecraft though. and finally finished gilmore girls. and found a waffle recipe I really like. so! those are pretty serious achievements.

    I’m heading to my parents’ later today and will be there for a little over a week. that’s mostly a good thing, I think, but I have to brave three different family reunions starting tomorrow. I am not at all looking forward to those. I’m also worried about what on earth I’ll wear for these things. I’m not out to the majority of my family, and sometimes I feel concerned that I’ll look “too gay” or something and it’ll tip everyone off. we always do fajitas and tamales on Christmas Eve with my mom’s older brother and his family, and I’m looking forward to that at least, both for the tradition of it and because I actually like all those people.

    for Christmas this year my parents got my a plane ticket to visit some friends in the DC area over New Years which I’m pretty excited about. I’d been feeling bummed about not havin NYE plans, so it was nice when this fell into place. (not foreseeing any girlfriends arising out of my New Years trip this year though. which is a-okay by me.)

    • 1) Sometimes I write mine in another window to keep from losing them!

      2) A+ parental travel gifting!

      3) make everyone waffles for christmas

      4) Have fun with your family! And Also good luck with your family!

      5) <3 <3 <3

    • I’m using my tablet, which is an aging hunk of junk, so I’ll often type things up in Google docs to make sure they are saved.

      Ah, family. But the food sounds lovely. : )

      Also, Minecraft! I need to repair my pc : (

  19. For years, my brother and parents would keep joking that he would get coal for Christmas, so one year, they actually gave him coal.

  20. Can I just use this as an opportunity to brag about gifts I’m going to give next week? Because, thanks to a sweet Amazon gift card from my boss, my two oldest friends are getting these ridiculously impractical beauties for Christmas:

    I can’t handle my excitement!

  21. Oh goody Friday thread before sunset.
    This week and some of last week were kinda shit because I didn’t have it in me make my bed with my nice clean sheets so I’ve been sleeping wrapped in my comforter like it was a cocoon.
    It took me till yesterday to figure why I felt the need to hide in what is basically a pillow in blanket form.
    Eric Garner.

    “I can’t breathe.”

    The coverage everywhere and all over the place with those words, hearing him crying out those words echoing in my head from the clip they show on the evening news is extra triggery for the memory and somewhat the experience of that time my brother nearly committed Manslaughter with his hands and my throat when I was 14.

    Seeing that officer’s arm around his neck is triggery as well, but those words haunt into some of the shit that came after surviving the death that should have and living in the same house as him. The laughing fits I’d get where I was afraid I would die and would beg for help by shouting, “I CAN’T BREATHE!”

    White people, aren’t we just the best at making everything about us?

    Oooh compound this with the trying to deal/come to terms with that time someone I loved and trusted very much violated me on my dime who still wants in my life, but thankfully doesn’t even live in the same region much less state and all the rape coverage.

    We have ourselves a psychological shit sandwich that feels almost like it was crafted just for me as I’m getting my life back on track and headed in a real direction.

    I think I dealt pretty well with the coverage of Robin Williams’ death okay for someone who nearly killed themself in a similar fashion, hanging.

    Just uh the implications that my life was nearly ended by strangulation at the hands of another and then four years later I nearly end myself with strangulation via hanging screws with me a bit but doesn’t feel like a part of the psychological shit sandwich.

    Last night I finally made my bed and slept in it, having sussed out the source of my anxiety.
    This morning my grandfather dies.

    I can’t choose a specific, singular, best present from all the presents I’ve ever gotten for the holidays.
    So here’s bestest one from when I played with dolls:
    A pink Barbie house fold up thing that was bedroom with a canopy bed, a bathtub, fancy windows and that little bench thing that was the foot of the bed which could hold stuff cause things would fall out said fancy windows.
    Hot plastic bipedal humanoid lurrve scenes Batman!

    Best present I got myself:
    A pretty blue toy for grown up girls.

    Best fancy clothes present:
    Studded black leather vest

    Best comfy clothing present:
    All the fluffy jammies ever and my fluffy blue robe.

    Best present for Lover-mas:
    Fancy underpants that are both tackily shiny and elegant at the same time. I call the gift giving period of naughty presents that come before or after celebrations with blood and legal family Lover-mas because clearly I need a rainbow snowflake costume to announce how special I am.

    Please fellow Straddlers come post your joys of holidays past so I can feed the happy like some sort of funpire while I listen to music that don’t make me cry, and eat saltines because the crème de la menthe I drank this morning and my tummy are not friends.

    • Your grandfather passed away? I’m terribly sorry for your loss… I’m sorry things are so tough for you right now. Please take care of yourself~ I send you consensual hugs<3

      • He’s been in ill health for quite awhile because Alzheimer’s does more than just screw with your memory. It can make your body forget how to walk and then you’ve got a urinary catheter and UTIs to contend with.

        But we don’t know why he died this morning and it feels kinda sudden but I’ve been mourning him since his diagnosis was concrete, not a suspicion chemo brain was something more and placement in the nursing home after things got to the point 24 care was necessary.

        Just glad I’m not in the anger part of grieving anymore and can peacefully look back at the good impact he had in my life. Giving the 7 year old kid in special ed who’s primary interest was Ancient Meso-America, alienating her even further from her peers, the beacon of Smithsonian magazine and someone to talk to about other ancient stuff might be the best gift of all.
        Now that I think about it.

        • He sounds like an amazing person. I’m so happy to hear that he impacted your life so positively. So happy to hear that you can think about him, and feel good about each other.
          It’s never easy when these events happen so suddenly… I hope you and your family are taking time for themselves, to grieve as much and however they need. Also, it was very awesome that you chose to talk about your emotions and situation here so personally. It’s good to express yourself. Thank you for doing that!
          My thoughts are with you<3

          • Thank you for your thoughts.

            Autostraddle feels like a safe space. I’m sure I’m not alone in the department of social justice mattering on a personal level based in the experience of injustice causing some sort of burnout or stress because issues at hand cut too close to home in some way.

    • *hug* Take care of yourself, and if you need to vent or want silly pictures of my dog texted to you through out the week, I’m here for you. For real dude, I know you can do this thang. Toss that studded vest on over your jammies and kick ass! <3

      • And also here’s a ridiculous picture of someone else’s dog that I keep looking at and laughing over

        • OMG, Musa needs an outfit like that, Jane!!!! And don’t forget the cute booties!
          ( thoughts of Musa…..” if sweetie Jane tries to put ” booties” on my paws, there is going to be a fur-ricane in our house, and it won’t be white fur!”)

      • It would look quite fetching with the super soft fluffy set that’s as red as fresh blood. And now that I think about it would look pretty cool with this t-shirt of a video game character decked out all Christmas-y that has my name on it.
        I think I gots me a new warrior outfit in the works…
        Thank you and oh gods above that dog, that dog.

    • Well shit, man, tell us how you really feel lol

      I’m being flippant because I cried for you when I read this. And maybe for me, because I can relate and it fucking sucks that you know that pain. High five for making your bed. In a twist if fate, I also have been cocooning because my sheet ripped from wear… the first ones I got for myself when I became a grown up, 600 thread count sheets I’ve loved for 5 years, with my old dogs’ drool marks, two long term relationships’ and faceless hookups worth of memories. I’ve been sleeping on the other side of the bed. Two days ago I put on my 300 count Value Village find, and star-fished. You’ve been cocooning because of PTSD. I’ve been cocooning because Change Is Hard. It’s not a contest, but I’m gonna say your reasons are valid. ;)

  22. i don’t know if i have a Best Present Ever, nothing’s coming to mind. i was pretty excited when i got Hark! A Vagrant though

    it’s been a rough week & yesterday was very very bad & im just drained. it doesn’t even feel like christmas at all.

    • that reminds me of when a friend of mine surprised me with kate beaton’s never learn anything from history. i asked him to get it for me from a con, and he told me it was sold out and then mailed it to my parents to give me on my birthday, including this cute dorky note explaining the situation to them.

      sorry it’s been a hard week. have a photo of my family’s puppy dressed as santa (much cuter and less creepy than last week’s santa):

    • If hugs will help you can have as many as you like.
      I’m sorry it’s being so tough – keep on doing the best you can, and know that we’re all an invisible network of support-lines that are snaking through the atmosphere going ” Yay Caitlin! We love you! You’re doing your best! Hang in there!”

      Please know that we are all happy for you to ask for as much support as you want, and will listen to everything you have to say – e love to hear your voice, even if it’s a pixilated internet written voice!

  23. Quick lunchtime add – one of my favorite gifts was this incredible book that my grandmother wrote for me when I was 12.

    Nothing shows you love like 300 pages of perfect, beautiful writing! It’s an amazing adventure divided into 12 days and nights along the lines of “The never-ending story” or Harry Potter, in that it is adventure, comedy and wonder (with many hermetic allusions thrown in for good measure).

    Now I’ve just remembered that I still haven’t translated it to be able to share it with my wife….hmmm, must get on that!

  24. You guys! You guys. I’m about to get real sappy all up in here. I feel like I’ve been really fortunate with regards to presents. Like, my birthday is the 23rd of December (OH GOOD LORD IT’S SO SOON I FEEL SO OLD AGGGH calm down calm down you’re only turning 26 SHUT UP I HAD TO GET MY OWN HEALTH INSURANCE I’M ANCIENT AND USELESS AND HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING yeah but you can go to the doctor like a big girl YEAH BUT MONEY IS HARD etc etc), and everyone who learns this fact asks if I hate it because I must get tons of combination christmas/birthday presents. That has not actually been the case at all in my experience! My family and friends are awesome about it–and I always have all of my old friends around at my party!

    My best present that was actually a real thing was from my mom on my 21st birthday, which was also the day of my best non-tangible object present. My mum gave me the most beautiful ring, which she designed herself and then had made. It’s a white gold band with a gold setting, which is very architectural and holds a fairly gigantic green garnet, which is apparently a thing. It’s dark like an emerald, but slightly warmer, and has a couple of really rad dark ‘imperfections’ running through that you can see when you look close. It’s emerald cut, set high and longways along the band so it kind of sits parallel to my knuckles instead of pointing at them. and there’s a little diamond on either side. It’s so incredibly gorgeous, and, like, powerful femme instead of frilly girly? Nothing wrong with frilly girly, but that’s just not me. When I wear it I always feel very much myself.

    The other best present was my (then step-)dad Bill adopting me! Awwwww cheesy yayyy But seriously it was amazing. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

    This week has been busy!

    Had a date with Holly, where we went to dinner and had a humongous Mai Tai and wandered around Irvine Spectrum drunkenly and also missed both movie showings we were interested in. It was super super fun!!

    We’re adults.

    Holly and I went up to visit a friend who lives near Santa Barbara! The drive was so so gorgeous–just after some rain, so everything was clean and the clouds were foggy and rolling and the light was ethereal on the hills. We ended up getting drunk and eating a bunch of mexican food, wandering around state street, and then finally ending up in a cute little sex shop. I feel like the sex shop is a place I can never leave without buying something, but this time I managed to leave without dropping $70 on another toy that I’m really just going to ignore most of the time in favor of my hitachi, anyway. Progress?

    It was awesome!! We stayed the night and had a horrifyingly huge breakfast in the morning, and then Holly and I visited the american apparel factory on the way home. Sadly the high-waisted gold shorts that I’ve wanted to go with my AMAZING new misandrist shirt didn’t fit right. I will find the perfect thing to go with that shirt, though. I’m on a mission.

    Last night was the christmas party my mom has every year with her friends, and, since the end of high school, me! It started out as the christmas meeting of her book club, and has continued on to this day as the most hilarious white elephant party I have ever had the joy of attending.

    This year I got “The Box”, which has been going around for about 15 years. It’s pretty horrifying–it has everything from hairballs to toenails to gall stones to baby teeth in it. One year someone put a homemade necklace made of felted dog fur and a penis charm in there. The penis charm moves. I’m thinking I’m going to finally shave an armpit for my contribution, which will be some sort of laminated hair ornament. The box is special. Most people don’t really get the box, but I figured some of you might find it hilarious as opposed to viscerally revolting? Or both!

    Other than that, I’ve been working and crafting and getting ready for christmas! I sent out a bunch of your guys’ letters! Some still need to go out/get finished, but everyone will get them by New Year’s, at least. I’m still taking addresses, too! Just pm me :)

    most of you get a little flower drawing!

    some envelopes ready to send!

    I had hardly any trouble at the post office, even though they legit crossed out the “please” on their sign.

    The sky was pretty this week:

    Protea that still looked rad when I forgot to change the water and they dried:

    Musa looking majestic

    And also MY FACE ’cause I like these new earrings and my cheap and amazing lipstick and hair and sweater. Clearly I was feeling good that day.

    A pretty vignette from the party last friday!

    And to finish off, some older flower pictures that I forgot I had and just put up!

    box o’ succulents!

    rack o’ peonies (and roses and those succulents)

    <3 <3 <3

    • eeee my envelope is so cute c:

      don’t worry friend, we are both turning 26 (my b-day’s actually the 25th heheh) & getting nice & crusty old. we must find our teeth. (actually wait idk if medicaid covers dental so let me not joke about that. why have to get own health insurance; it’s confusing :( )

      • Wait, does it cover dental? This is a real life grown up question help help

        And happy early birthday!! Let’s grab our compression socks and go play bridge!

    • I see my envelope & it’s so pretty I love it already. Also, if that is your definition of adulting, that is very much how I would like to adult instead of the whole “adults can’t have fun and make silly faces at cameras from the insides of random objects” stuff.

      (I’m embarrassed but I used to think a hitachi was a type of grill. It wasn’t even that long ago.)

      • I think it IS a kind of grill??
        No wait I just googled it the grill’s called a Hibachi.

        Don’t think I really want that anywhere near my crotch.
        You do you, though?

        • Second the not wanting it near crotches…but I do own that grill. Love the succulents…only non food plant I can keep alive in my house :( Majestic pooch is majestic as ever!

    • :D I got mine in the mail today and it was such a delightful treat after a slightly-crappy week of being sick and long work days. It really put a smile on my face. Love all the beautiful flower drawings.

      Also, I can totally relate to the “I’M ANCIENT AND USELESS AND HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING” crisis at age 25. But… I think all 20-somethings kind of feel that way at some point. Being slightly-clueless is part of being young, I guess (which we STILL are, even if we sometimes feel old!).

      Beautiful photos of sky and clouds and beaches and peonies

    • When I was in LA tha other month I took my first trip there with my friends and our gfs. The area looked pretty treacherous area and had me skittish. A group of homeless looking people were looking at us I we were trying to find tha place. One of them tried to throw trash at us. It had us a bit skittish. But, that place had some real cool books, which included a lot of queer men, and women who oddly enough weren’t wearing clothes. We took a wrong turn our way back to tha near by gay bar, and we got to an area that look even more treacherous. There was a mission there, yet there were people outside arguing and what looked to be a person using a crack pipe. Next time Im in california well hit tha one up in West Hollywood that looks safer. Tha gay bar was solid on tha other hand. Meeeeeoooooowww

    • Everything about your post is awesome!

      I started a book club in June/July but ’cause of personal stuff haven’t really made much of it. I really wanted to have a holiday party but just wasn’t sure how many people I could get interested and also our place is just big enough to fit me and my girlfriend only. Thanks for the inspiration!

      Also, I want one of your amazing cards and envelopes! So beautiful!

    • I need Musa! Will you please Fedex her to me, ASAP! Thank you, Jane! You can come too! I promise to cuddle both of you!!!

    • For a little while I was wondering how you and your GF became Christmas ornaments. Confusion abated and then my mind was all aw but they’d be such perfect Christmas ornament with their cute lil cheery drunk faces.
      Basically y’all are just as precious as a Baby’s First Christmas ornament.

  25. I grew up in the countryside. This was also the 90’s and if shops that were open past 5 existed, they definitely didn’t exist where we lived, and especially not at xmas. It got to xmas eve and we realised that in all the fuss of buying food for xmas we had forgotten to buy our two cats a tin of cat food! The shops were now shut and wouldn’t be open for at least a few days. My parents suggested that when we put out our usual mince pie and sherry for father xmas we leave a note to see if he has any spare on his sleigh he could give to us.

    On xmas morning we rush downstairs and there, with a ribbon around it, was a tin of cat food.

    As a child this was a beautiful gift- we happily fed our cats that day. And as an adult it’s still a beautiful gift because I know the effort my parents would have had to gone to get that cat food when we lived in the middle of nowhere, and I love that they decided to make it into something magical for us.


  26. YOU GUYS! Las night, my girlfriend gave me The Legend Of Zelda The Ocarina of Time for my 64 for Channukkah because she heard me lament that I’d never played it when we started dating MONTHS AGO. I am mush.

  27. I’ve mentioned this earlier in the week, but one of the best holiday gifts I ever got was a Motorola pager watch. It was like a smart watch before smart watch category existed. It told me weather, sports scores, news, could take notes on it, and of course receive pages(alphanumeric, and messages). But best gift ever? Well I guess that would be when my parents got me car. It was on super bowl Sunday. Does it also count during the holiday season last few years I got myself a camera?

    Speaking of cameras, I took this one the other day in the rain.

    My week has been a bit too long and I am starting to hate having my own retail business during holiday season, because everyone keeps asking for free gifts, even on $5 items. I work in DTLA, and on my way back from the bank, a homeless person threatened me with a metal looking shiv. Thankfully, $5 was all it took to stop that from going further. He thank me for complying cause he didn’t want another incident.
    Also, telemarketers on the east coast need stop calling me at 4am. I understand it’s 7am there, but where I am it’s 4 fucking am.

    On a positive note I found out today that many Oreo flavors are actually vegan(well the sugar used is still debatable), but for all these years I thought Oreo had dairy in it, but turns out it’s palm oil(which apparently the harvesting of it is bad for the animal species in the area). I may just get a box of them and eat them as I go hiking that way I won’t feel soo bad.
    Oh and I got myself a pre-loved Sony PSP with 2 games for cheap and using it to play classic Nintendo games on it.

    • I dunno why that picture showed up so small, odd.
      Oh and I’ve been butting heads with my father all week. He doesn’t get why I chose to be a vegan and really gets mad when I tell please not to use those pronouns, I don’t like them. He’s says he is the parent he gets to choose. I am sorry, but that’s not how it works. I am not a sir, or he, I am a they, xe, and/or Madsuir.

      And just right now a person in my building told me no homo when he complemented my hands, and I’m like why? He didn’t know how to respond.

      • I literally said “WHAT” outloud at your dad saying he’s who should get to choose your pronouns. sorry that’s still a struggle.

        your pic is pretty! I think maybe if photos exceed a certain size they get resized to be smaller so they don’t cause side-scrolling or some such nonsense. it’d be nice if that smaller were slightly larger.

        • I know, I think in his and my mothers mind it has to do with the fact they named me. I am sure it’s going to be like this for a while until he maybe gives up and just calls me by my name, vs sir, mister, or other pronouns. I guess this my way of coming out to my parents. My sister on the other hand is like stop arguing, and let it go. :-/

    • As i said above I was in that area and it looked treacherous. I’m nor surprised someone wanted to stab you, i saw a homeless person throw stuff at us at our car. It left a bad taste of la in our mouth. :-(

  28. This has nothing to do with presents, but myparentsaremeetingthegirlfriendinanhourholyshit. This is the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve been in. Like… ever? I hope everyone (my family) behaves.

  29. I just usually buy my own gifts because my parent don’t really know what I like. I would say getting The girl With The Dragon Tattoo book :)
    Also my doggy Pepe got to meet Santa

  30. Warning: some depressing stuff, with a happy ending! :)

    Okay, so this week was also pretty hectic…but it was a huge improvement from the past few weeks. On Sunday I was talking to my friend on the phone for 10 hours straight, trying to talk him out of suicide. He stopped responding, and I was terrified…I thought he had really done it. Thankfully he pulled through. The next few days were stressful for him, and all this was even tougher since we both had to deal with finals.. But anyways, I asked to see him yesterday morning. He refused, at first, because he thought that I hated him and that he didn’t deserve to be seen. Thank goodness he changed his mind… That morning we didn’t say much. I just wanted to see him, and give him hugs. And as insignificant as it seemed…he thanked me for the rest of the day. Guys, he was just so grateful, and he said that that was the first time he felt cared for in over a decade. His health has already improved so much. He still is going through tough times, but it’s getting easier for him. He is alive…and honestly, what greater gift could I ask for this Christmas?

    Also I have two good friends who are now dating their crushes! And another friend who finally is moving in with a family who will accept her sexuality (the family is a cute lesbian couple with a baby!)
    So yeah…things were really tough. But everything has gotten much better, and I am just so happy guys. Sigh, I love you all<3 I hope you guys have happy holidays, as well. Also, my apologies for the long post! So much to talk about~

    • that all sounds intense! I’m glad your friend is okay and that things seem to be getting easier and turning out well. good job showing your friend so much love. even gestures that seem small to the giver can make a huge difference. and hey! glad you are feeling so happy!

      • Thank you so much for the sweet words, cb!! Agh, your comment has made me even happier. Much love to ya~ I hope things go well for you, too!

    • *hugs* Damn! Quite a week! Good on you for holding everything together–I am so happy for you and all of your friends!

      • Aww, thank you so much, Jane! You are too sweet. Yeah, I am eternally grateful that I’m in a position where I can be an emotional support. Friends are important.
        I wish you a very happy winter season.

    • Wow – rough week. So glad to hear that things are looking up and your friend pulled through. You sound like an amazing friend to him. And great news about all the people in happy relationships. :)

      • Hehe, thank you for your kind words! And for taking the time to reply to my post. c: Yeah when I think about it, it was a pretty rough semester overall — ending on a happy note!

  31. Worst: last year, conditioner wrapped in a box fit for something amazing. Also, those makeup kits that come with like 7 lipsticks and fifty eye shadows and like 2 colors ever look good on me and none of the lipsticks.
    Best: probably every other gift is awesome but an especially awesome gift was the set of orange appliances a couple years ago.

  32. Best gift was a hollow chocolate santa that was the same size as me, given to me by a family friend. This happened when I was four, so it being the same size as me is not that outrageous. Kept me going for weeks. The worst was when my ex broke up with me unexpectedly before I was about to spend my first Xmas on my own in a new country, but we won’t dwell on that.

    I’ve gifted myself an A+ membership and a couple zines for the holidays. Also had my eye one of THE scissoring sweatshirts, but I’ll have to wait on that until the red comes back in stock (??). Now I am drinking wine, messing around on Etsy, and cuddling with my cat. We will be spending Xmas alone this year, but I’m seeing my family in January, which will be nice.

    • OH, and the weirdest by far was that my best friend’s mom insisted on buying me barbies for Christmas, every single Christmas, and always the blonde, boring, super white ones (so essentially the same one each year). We did family gift exchanges where we would all get together and give one another gifts, and it was so, so strange to be feigning childlike excitement over a barbie at age 17 (this continued for a couple more years, too). It would have been totally different if I had ever expressed interest in having them, but nope, never a thing. Definitely appreciated the thought, though.

  33. I once cried when I was given a cheap set of salt and pepper grinders. I had been at uni for 3 months and missed seasoning so much. Truly a wonderful gift.
    As promised I have attempted imgur and now will attempt images! So here follows (cross everything) my ridiculous new haircut and a peek of my tux. Another fabulous gift i only just got to wear today after 7 years- snowflake cufflinks and my dog doing what she does most of the time.

    Hope this worked. The tux and cufflinks are because it was my dayjob xmas do tonight, sadly all of us have to work at 9:30 tmrw so it was a short disco dance after dinner and then home.

    Also this week I went to an MA proposal presentation for the year below us and “helped” one poor soul. She thought feminine, as a word, was more all encompassing of women’s issues than feminism. Poor lady hadn’t considered the existence of masculine identified women…now she has and has changed her proposed title. I was all dyked up in plaid flannel quoting Halberstam and everything. I wasn’t a bitch about it. It really was a genuine mistake by someone trying, albeit misguidedly, to be inclusive and I have to say I feel like in the long run I helped her out. I also think without this site, (and a tonne of reading on queer theory), I wouldn’t have had had the guts to stand up and say anything. So thanks.

    Happy weekend folks.

    • I feel that grinder gift feel, I just this year realized I care how much my silverware weighs? Plastic ain’t cutting it anymore.

      Also a precious pup.

      • Truth. You gotta have good cutlery. We have three tined forks amongst ours and some of my friends freak out, a la Sheldon Cooper, so we give them the good silverware.
        Also ty r.e. Pup, she’s the best little buddy a girl could have. I promise Christmas jumper pics next week.

    • Nice job handling a teachable moment! And I’m sure your haircut looks awesome even though the picture isn’t working :(

      • Thanks to both! The best part of the uni thing was my super feminist tutor, who knows how much research I’ve done, nodding at me the whole time like “yup”. I’ll try again for the hair pic with a direct copy and paste from and actual useful device later.
        Also tea is in the post. Who knows when it’ll arrive :)

      • Ooh tie clip. Nice. I was a slob and didn’t wear a bow tie with my wing collared shirt because I left it in my desk drawer at work. Stupido. The story with the cufflinks is I saw them with my Mum and she bought them for me for Christmas in like October ’07 and gave me them for that Christmas by which time I was sure she’d have forgotten them…its a habit…then I lost them in my pit of a house and my missus found them and gave me them to wear last night. It’s like getting the gift twice :)

  34. Best gift, hands down, is the autographed-with-an-inside-joke photo of Kristen Bell that my partner got for me as a total and utter surprise a few years back. I think I actually literally fell over laughing when I unwrapped it.

    Worst gift(s) were all the velvety, bow-covered dresses my aunt insisted on getting for me every Christmas when I was growing up, despite knowing full well that I hated dresses and always returned them.

  35. Oh wait I forgot one! Probably one of the most touching gifts I ever got was, the first time, for my birthday: a bunch of my friends pooled their money and bought me an appointment to get custom-molded musician’s ear plugs. This is a really, really big deal for me because my life basically revolves around music, much of it loud/being played by mean, and I really value my hearing but these custom jobs are a bit expensive. So it was SUPER rad. BUT THEN, I was in Seattle performing in a show and someone stole my bag–with those ear plugs in it. I think I was sadder to lose those than my wallet.

    Next year at Christmas, though, those same friends banded together AGAIN and re-bought me the appointment and ear plugs. It was so great, you guys. So many warm fuzzies, and my ears have been very happy and protected ever since.

  36. Best gift: a microscope, in maybe 7th grade. It was from Toys R Us but not a toy; more like a junior scientist education kit. It had a total of up to 100x mag if I remember correctly, including several different ocular objectives and a projection screen thing, and a ton of pre-mounted slides of specimens like pollen grains and other stuff. And sea monkeys (daphnia) were amazing to me and my sister; they hatched in salt water and under the scope we could see their tiny legs wave around and their hearts beat thru their translucent bodies. The scope was red like a sports car and I wish I still had it you guys.

    I am currently earning a grad degree in microbiology and i teach my students the rad trick that my mom showed me in 7th grade for how to quickly focus a scope at any magnification. Thanks mom.

    This year, a fellow straddler did a local card exchange and I got some gaymail this week that was hilarious and awesome. Carmen it had several different dogs pictured and strong photoshop game. Gonna do the straddler card exchange every year, now that I know what I’d been missing.

    I love you alllllll. Happy solstichristmakwanzukkativus. Stay warm!

  37. So following a bizarre, sprawling (and still unresolved) medical saga, I completely mixed up the date of my math final. Thought it was two days after when it actually was; resultantly I flat-out didn’t show up to my FINAL. All caps to convey the gravity of the situation. Unsurprisingly, this realization precipitated an intense flood of anxiety, self-loathing, and “my life is over” catastrophization. It took me forever to get in contact with someone about it as my professor had already left for vacation and the math department in its entirety was practically barren. But luckily, in the nick of time, I was able to work something out and take it. Trying not to stress about my blatant lack of preparation because, hey, literally anything is better than a zero.

    In other news I am psyched for some winter break solitude. Lounging on the couch in my underwear, listening to music, drinking too much tea, not worrying about concretized, tangible metrics of achievement, reading all the stuff I haven’t had time to… heaven. Of course I’m looking forward to seeing family as well, but there is something so singularly blissful about being alone after you’ve had to weather the ‘maddening crowds’ of academia for a few months.

    As for presents, I’ve personally never really been into them. Just leaves me feeling kinda hollow. I will admit, however, that I do have a hearty list of textbooks I need for the holidays. One for each night of Chanukkah, maybe?

  38. My best friend and I have birthdays 9 days apart, so we often give each other birthday presents at the same time. Last year we brought out the presents, both wrapped, and my friend got a funny look on her face and was like, “um…I think we may have gotten each other the same thing.” I didn’t think so because they were clearly different sizes. But then we opened them and we had, in fact, each given each other the same book — they were just different sizes because one was hardcover and one was paperback. I’d just bought the copy I saw in the store, I didn’t realize it existed in hardcover. (It was Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.)

  39. The best gift I ever received was actually not a Christmas present but a mid-summer random present. My boyfriend brought back from his kibbutz the hamsa and Star of David necklace that I now wear every day. Being given the symbol of another culture to wear is always a big deal, especially when the culture is one where you’ve been accused of breaking his poor mother’s heart with goyim grandchildren. Plus they came from halfway around the freakin planet! And I’m best friends with his mom now! Life is amazeballs!

  40. One of the best Christmas present I’ve ever received was a TARDIS jewelry box. My brother and his girlfriend got a friend of theirs to build it for me. It is huge and magnificent. He made it out of wood and painted it by hand. There are all these little details, like a felt line drawer for my studs, and a light bulb on the top. It was such an elaborate and thoughtful gift and I still can’t believe they did that for me. I’m going to try to embed a picture of it. I’m crossing my fingers it will work :|

  41. Six days before Christmas, 1996, my kid arrived. Best gift the Universe ever gave me. And yes, that means she turned 18 today. I’m still getting used to that idea.

  42. Is it bad that I can’t recall a single really good gift? My parents never surprised me with gifts- they just asked me what I wanted. So no gift ever came out of the blue, or to be blunt, from the heart. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get a lot of things I wanted. I think the best holiday/seasonal present I ever gave myself was getting my nose pierced when I was 18. It was something I had wanted for years, and it was really the first independent thing I did (and went against my parents’ wishes).

  43. I’m really terrible at telling stories, but here it goes.

    A couple of years ago my best friend came back home from college for a few days during winter break. Because she wasn’t in town for very long, we didn’t get to spend as much time as we had wanted. On her last night in town, she came over so we could exchange gifts.

    My friend and I stood there facing each other, gifts in hand.
    I said I was sorry because I hadn’t actually wrapped her present (Procrastinator), but she was okay with it because apparently she hadn’t wrapped mine.
    Then I said, out of the blue, “Also, I think we got each other the same thing.”
    She said “That’s not possible because I made your present.”

    We did a quick present swap and had given each other keychains.
    That’s when I learned that I was psychic.

  44. When I was a kid every year my mum got me a mug with a picture of cats on it. Ah tea and cats, my mother knew me so well.

  45. Oh wow, hard question! The best gift I’ve ever gotten was probably a seasons ski pass to our local mountain when I was 13. This began a trend of holding seasons ski passes for the rest of my teenage years, and my winters were filled with mountain adventures, rocking out to Michael Jackson and Coldplay on the car rides up.

    I also liked my little 20x portable microscope as a kid.

    I never got a puppy in a box, but I did get a bunny for Easter, a Holland lop with little white pads on its feet, and I named it Sneakers.

    But the animal I really wanted for Christmas as a kid was a mule. Yes, a mule. I even asked Santa for it as I sat on his lap in the mall, and my parents just nodded their heads quizzically like “we know as well as you do…” So I got a toy plastic mule for Christmas. Not as good as a live one, but still better than a plastic horse.

    I have given stuffed microbes as gifts. (The ones here – I gave them to people who had gotten the actual illnesses, because I have a slightly morbid sense of humor (but after they had already recovered, because I’m not THAT cruel). These included giardia and chickenpox. I gave the latter to my brother, both in the stuffed form and in the real form, because I’m a sibling who likes to share.

    This is what it looked like.

    On another note, I am nearly over my bug/cold/sickness this week, so yay!
    And I caught some not-too-cold sunshine at the beautiful Puget Sound beaches! :)

    • Patricia you always leave the most gorgeous landscape photos. Thank you!!

      Omg, all those gifts are very original and fantastic. A microscope would be so cool to have!

      • Thanks! :) It was just a cheap one, but I had fun carrying it around outside with me on all my adventures as a kid and looking at stuff I found. I was a nature kid.

    • I got my missus a stuffed campylobacter after she was in hospital with it. (Damn dodgy takeout) We didn’t know what it was ’til after she came home and we got a letter…because England and the NHS. We keep it on a shelf in the kitchen as a morbid inside joke.
      So I get that :)
      Lovely landscapes. Yellow wintery skies are my favourite.

      • Those stuffed microbes are the best for morbid jokes. :) You have to keep a sense of humor when you’re sick, right?
        And yes, winter skies are beautiful. Thanks!

  46. Last December was the first time I really spent time away from my girlfriend for like, a significant amount of time and I missed her more than anything. For Christmas, she bought me like 12 little buttons–like for your backpack?–and a long letter explaining the specific cute girlfriend memory associated with each one.
    I read the letter at 8am on Christmas morning, by the light of my Christmas tree at home, and I cried like a baby. God, what a good present.

  47. This is hella cheesy, but I can’t think of a best present ever…. Just every human experience in adult memory of Christmas as being a time of joy and togetherness in some form. In the years when family wasn’t joyful for me, I worked with my client, who subsequently became a dear friend. Now at Christmas, I bring him homemade stuff, and we eat and eat til we can’t (I feed him til he refuses food -takes a lot!) And I get him situated in a lazy boy, and I lay on the floor next to him and rub our bellies, and we watch Lifetime movies. And the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes that day…

    In other news, still hurting about break up, but getting super involved in AA and volunteering. My mom is doing better. I put up a Charlie Brown Christmas tree :)

    ALSO! In volunteering for AA, I went to drop off a cheque at a community Centre, and there was a Christmas (“X-Mas” *shudder*) party for the Brain Injury Association happening. I’ve been calling around to different locations about starting a choir for people with special needs so my client with a brain injury (see above) would have more social activities that are appropriate. Today, I got in touch with the Brain Injury Association about starting a choir, and they’ll be reviewing my program proposal in January!

    • The choir sounds like a really nice and cool idea! I hope the Brain Injury Association will be able to help you realize your plans. What does the program proposal entail?

    • Oh Lo, I am SO relieved to hear that your mum’s doing better! I’m sorry about the residual break up shittiness–sending you good thoughts along with your package!

      The BIA Choir sounds amazing! I know our local community center has classes and activity stuff, but a choir sounds so special and sweet.

      Your happy christmas memories are making me tear up! I hope this year is even more full of friendship and food and love than last year <3

  48. OH MY GOD also, in this-week news, I bought a book on Amazon called On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience about lesbian girl scouts and it’s basically the best Christmas present I could have gotten for myself. LESBIAN GIRL SCOUTS Y’ALL. Is there an article on AS about that yet? There should be.

  49. My rad coworker got me a gift voucher for Dolls Kill, which means I was able to buy these super cool galaxy pants for myself for Christmas!

  50. Worst gifts Ive seen at white elephant (talking about $30 minimum)
    – hair extensions given to a guy
    – lipstick looking vibrator, UNWRAPPED. with tiger stripes the other bright pink. Both loud as hell
    – a broken wall decor that said something like friendship and sunshine
    – a photo album that had pictures of their ex in the middle and back part
    – candles that were already lit
    – marshalls gift card with $2.64 in it
    – leftover pastry

    • Seriously left over pastry? I am not sure if that gift card is any better, but wow. I once got a michelada(im sure with a sol or pacifico it would have been alright, but with American lager no), but I’d probably would have preferred the leftovers.

  51. Last year, I got two of my favorite presents.
    1. A tablet from my brother. I never even dreamed of receiving something so fancy that year, but my brother works at a certain electronics store and in a rare twist of fate, was able to get a really nice discount on a tablet for me. I carry it with me everywhere and have read dozens of books on it this year. It’s my mobile library with the convenience of a tablet.
    2. When you’re a massage therapist like me, some of your regular clients really realize how hard you work for them to feel so much better, and they respect the heck out of you. One of my regulars actually makes and sells kaleidoscopes for a living. Imagine my surprise and delight last year when she gave me one for Christmas! While this gift may seem dull to some, it was amazing.
    I’d never ever seen such a beautiful kaleidoscope made so well in all my life. The colors and real glass beads inside were so beautiful I sometimes play with it for a half hour at a time. When I looked on her online store to see how much it sold for, it was priced around $300. That floored me even further.
    It’s one of my favorite memories being a massage therapist, and I’m still close with that amazing client.

  52. The worst gift I have ever given anybody was a bead alligator. now that might not seem so bad,right?. well the thing is I gave that gift to the same person 5 years in a row because they always ended up giving it back eventually. And I still give it to them almost every Christmas. Every time they always have a look of “I love you, but what the fuck?” On their face.

  53. When I was seven and doubting the existence of Santa, I said to my mother that I would believe in him for another year if he delivered a hamster … And my mom, I mean Santa, did! I named her Milagros, which is Spanish for miracle. That was a good gift.

    At one point last year, I told my best friend of how I used to watch Bananas in Pyjamas every Saturday morning, and how I missed it on one morning and got really upset and cried all day … This story was told to her at the beginning of the year and for Christmas, she got me two Banana stuffed animals, so “I would always be happy.” I got her a llama stuffed animal, because they are her favourite thing ever, and I made it a scarf because my best friend is always wearing a scarf. I don’t know how we’re going to outdo ourselves this year.

    My worst gift is courtesy of my ex – for my birthday once she got me a book about being an alcoholic. I was not an alcoholic. Neither was she. We didn’t know any alcoholics, and this was a self-help book.

    I don’t have much else to add, except that I hate retail and also 47 HOURS UNTIL I SEE MY PERSON I AM SO HAPPY

    • Yay you get to see your person soon yay yay yay!!!

      You can make it through the crazy shoppers…#retailsolidarity

      We had a customer throw her dirty pillowcases at us because her husband’s drool showed up on them…retail…#funtimes

      Hope your clients are much kinder and bring you smiles and gifts, yeah, gifts, why not!

  54. I don’t know if any of you watch the office, but if you do then this is cuter. My girlfriend got me a tea pot and put a book in it that she made. It was filled with lots of words about her feelings for me. It was probably the nicest I’ve ever felt about anything.

  55. The best gift I ever received for Christmas was actually a puppy. For once I’m not joking. Granted, he didn’t come in a box that I could pluck him out of so he could lick my face a la Lady and the Tramp. Instead, he walked in through the door and made a break straight for the food that was out for my sister’s cats. I was 12, and I was really pissed at my mom because she was supposed to take me shopping but she was gone for 4 hours instead. I eventually forgave her, because she brought home this little 4 pound ball of adorable that was wearing a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” bandana, because the shelter had run out of ribbons. He was just the best.

    Here’s my attempt at posting photos of him/me from that day. Ignore the me part of it, because I was definitely in my awkward teenage phase and it was bad.

  56. When I was 18 I got my GED and I didn’t really mention it to anyone. A few weeks later I was supposed to stop by and drop off some yarn for a stich n’ bitch thing my mom was doing at my aunt’s house and walked into a huge surprise party for my “graduation”, with even my grandparents who never, ever, ever leave their town (they lived like five hours away) and my friends and everyone, and my mom had bought me an ipod with my nickname/internet handle engraved on the back. I was SO surprised, and I couldn’t believe that everyone would want to show up for my dumb GED, let alone get me a super expensive ipod (at the time, this was 10 years ago). I ended up actually ducking out kind of early and running away because I was so overwhelmed which I felt bad about but it was really super nice of them all.

    Also this is kind of a silly one but the year after I moved 3,000 miles away from everyone I knew I was feeling really sad around the holidays and my person who hates christmas and holidays in general realized that I was having a time and I came home from work on christmas eve to cookies and a tiny tree with little presents and lights and it was like, exactly what I needed.

  57. Whoooo my finals are done. And I think I might have done really well on pchem? I thought that it was far easier than the other tests, though my friends in the class thought it was harder so now I’m concerned that I missed something rather large; either way I’m DONE.

    I’m glad that my cat has stopped doing the “I’m mad that you left me” jig and instead is being a cuddle monster because I missed her. And my best friends’ dog was thrilled to see me too. (My parent dog was happy for 5 minutes, then returned to the usual indifference; the other cat in my parents household remains startled/scared of everything in his old age).

    And best gifts received…a three-way tie between my oboe and the two cats in my parents household. Admittedly, neither cat was really a planned gift, but instead, both were strays/barn cats that my mom’s patients couldn’t take care of and both happened very close to Christmas, so there was a bow on a door of a bathroom around Christmastime two times when I was in middle and high school with kitties behind them.

  58. I’ve gotten some awesome gifts over the years, including an amazing and unexpected touch screen laptop this year, but this one takes the cake. Perfect girlfriend got me the PERFECT gift. A fleecey leopard print onesie with CAT FEET. The feet are CATS. Complete with little button eyes and pink ears and noses!!!! So here I am looking just a tiny bit crazy after hopping around her apartment and naming my two new cat feet.
    Also she got me the beanie since I steal hers on a regular basis. What a queen.

  59. Holidays/birthdays are incredibly hard for me. I left home when I was 16, and have been really not good at all about creating a new family since then (16 years later). I just end up thinking about how bad I’ve been at putting myself out there and making new/healthy friendships (like, not at all basically), and wondering ‘why is that?’. Also, I get down because celebrating seems, like, a privilege thing, involving lots of money that I never ever have.

    This year I definitely got the best gift ever! My girlfriends famliy invited me to join them on a Caribbean cruise. I said yes even though I really should have saved my money. They paid $250 of it for me as a gift and they don’t even know me. The trip was awesome and we had a great time.

    Even though I got this awesome present and I need to save money, I’ve still been seriously considering (irresponsibly) buying myself a new Tarot deck. I really want the uber expensive Wild Unknown but would definitely settle for cheaper Steampunk or Shadowscapes.

    This thread has been awesome and was just what I needed, to get out of myself for a second and appreciate the wonderful things in my life. Although things could always be better, I am surviving (for the moment, fingers crossed) in a situation I didn’t know I could. I have a wonderful girlfriend, who I live with in a beautiful apartment. I have enough tech things to be productive and creative with. I’m going to school. I only wish I could magically make things better for my girlfriend who is going through a really rough time right now. <3 <3 <3

  60. I like giving presents, but I was really bad at it when I was a kid, though I blame this on my dad. These days, he gives me money or a book he’s had for 20 years, that has no particular significance, but he will wrap and be like “here…..I thought….you might like……religious woodcuts.” So now I have a book of them. Also, once he gave me his fany-ish keyboard and then asked for it back a couple of years later. He’s a weird guy. On that same end I once gave my two younger brothers Volume One and Volume Two of this double disc ‘Best of Reggae’ album…..which I had apparently previously bought from my younger brother for a dollar, which I forgot, whups.

    I don’t really know about any best presents, both my mom and my girlfriend need very specific instructions about what I want for Christmas, and I’m never disappointed, but I’m rarely surprised either. That’s okay!

  61. For feeling whatever it is inside me that makes me know I am female because of how I felt one day at Home Depot and sensing that Maryanna was simply……the girl that made me know I am a female…,…,I found my gender in the emotional connection I felt for this “average” lesbian woman, who for me is not average at all. She is the girl in high school I was supposed to fall in love with, and share sweet cuddly girl love with! She was supposed to have taught me that I am a girl, and be my gf in life. And I would be the girl who recognized she is an artist and been the one who gave the confidence and support to go for her true love of art.

    My love for Maryanna is mushy, romantic love….cuddly girl love…..

  62. When I was little I remember getting baby dolls for Christmas, which I adored. Some Ani cds when I was a teenage were also memorable and fun. Now my parents’ don’t really do presents. They do give my brother and me money for our Roth IRAs which is very much appreciated, but not too sentimental.

    I was asking my wife recently about her favorite present and she said getting her srs surgery. I’m not very good at sentimental gifts so I was hoping that helping to pay for her surgery would not only make her happy, but also cover me in the gift giving department for a while. ;)

    We asked the universe this year for a baby, but there may be a different plan in the cards. So we’ll see.

    My family is very kindly helping us fix our kitchen this year over the holiday.

    It’s fun to read about everyone’s holiday stories!

  63. so for halloween this year, one of my best friend’s grandmother sent me a card. she’d only met me once at that point, but she sent cards for me, him, his girl friend, and his roommate. it was the BEST FUCKING CARD and i totally still have it. it meant a lot to me because my family and i are on weird terms and getting the card made me feel like i was doing okay.

    (the card was supposed to be a surprise he was going to hold on to until halloween but his grandmother called and he had her on speaker and she ruined the surprise so he just gave up and flung them at us)

  64. My best christmas happened when I was probably about 7 years old, but I was really sick and was staying in the hospital at the time. Anyways, Santa came to the hospital in a helicopter and I got carried around in a red wagon and he gave me a Tickle Me Elmo.I got to look all confused and happy on the local news because people were trampling each other for Tickle Me Elmos at the store apparently.

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