FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Hands Up If You Know What The Heck You’re Getting Everyone This Year

Hey there neatly-wrapped parcels of joy already sitting beneath a tree just waiting to be opened! Or, er, not, as the case may be. Welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread, coming at you from the prime-time of gift-buying season. Look, here’s me, lost in the thick of said season’s prime-time!

DSC_0195 (2)

I operate on a ‘one for you, one for me’ basis. Tin for Emily, blanket for Andy and, erm, boots for moi.

There was this one year, back in the dim and distant past, where I felt relatively rich some time around October, and decided that I would make like my dear mum and ‘get organised for Christmas’ (though since I suspect she does her Christmas shopping in the January sales, I was already 10 months behind). I went on a week-long online shopping binge and as those carefully-chosen gifts arrived, I lined them up on the sofa, alongside the things I was hand-crafting. Basking in how totally freaking brilliant I was, I stored them away in boxes, which, good lord, I think I actually labelled, and felt like the best friend/daughter/sister/partner on the planet. My god, that was a good year.

Second-hand bookshops are full of gift ideas for your mother-in-law.

This year, I began the delightful task of gift-buying just yesterday, but it’s still going kinda well, mainly because Edinburgh has this street with all the posh charity shops in one place, with even posher coffee shops neatly placed between them (my idea of a perfect day out in the city). A vintage blanket, a book about tree-houses of the world, Palestinian olive oil, old French CDs, a faded OS maps of my parents’ home town — the haul was pretty damn nice, and pretty damn cheap. I also got some wicked boots.

As for my dad? He’s into carpentry. So he’s getting a lump of wood. GENIUS.

Em, and what is apparently a very lovely piece of elm for my dad to hack to bits.

So, tell me, dear ‘straddlers: how goes the gift-giving this year? Are you almost done crossing people off your list, or are you still checking it twice? What’s the best gift you’re giving this year? In fact, what’s the best gift you’ve ever given? Are you super-duper organised when it comes to stuff like this? (Does it make you feel like you’re turning into your mother? BONUS QUESTION.) Or, will you elbow your way through crowds on Christmas eve (again) to buy your dearest a copy of Adele’s 25? I want to know. I need to know! 

But hey, also, maybe you’re not giving any gifts this year or you’re so tuckered out from shopping for them that you’d just rather not right now. That’s okay, too! As always, this is a safe space for you to tell me everything and anything about your life, including but not limited to: the story behind a cute photo of your cat (pic included), an amazing or awful date you went on since last week, how your test went, whether or not you’re going to the office party this month, and whatever else you really need to get off your chest.

How To Post A Photo In The Comments:

1. Find a photo! This is the easy part. Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…

2. Code it into your comment! Use the following code, and use a DIRECT LINK to the image. Your image link should end in .JPG or .GIF or .PNG or .CallMeWhateverYouWant even. I don’t care, but it should be an image suffix! KINDA LIKE THIS:

<img src=”http://yourimagelink.jpg”>

If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur. To learn more about posting photos, check out Ali’s step-by-step guide.

How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:

1. Find a video on YouTube or Vimeo or WHATEVER and click “embed.” Copy that code, but first make sure it’s for 640 px wide or less. If your player is too large, it will not display properly.

2. Copy the code and paste it directly into your comment.

3. Go forth and jam.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.


  1. Working in a chocolate shop around Christmas time does not leave much room for gift buying. Put that on top of theater stuff and I’m very far behind this season BUT I WILL GET IT DONE!!!!

      • My mom and sister both work for the store so they don’t want it. Besides my dad, no one really cares about it anymore. It makes gift giving more challenging. Although my grandma thought it was funny to give me chocolate last year


          Brb, have to go write a heartwarming (and yet human) short story.

    • my mother works in a chocolate shop and I work in an art gallery. No one in our family wants presents from either of those places because I guess it gives the impression we just picked it up at work and didn’t put thought into it. Which isn’t true, but whatever.

  2. I did my family and several friends, and have a few more/my coworkers left to go. Little bro is the most fun to shop for; I got him books–Archie McPhee, Discovering Scarfolk, Welcome to Nightvale and Nimona.

    Also my friends are having a discussion about what our Hogwarts owls would be and I would definitely have a tawny frogmouth:

  3. I am getting Hufflepuff socks for my roommate and a Hufflepuff mug for a friend. (Sensing a trend here?) Aside from that, I have no idea. Which is terrifying. Honestly probably won’t get gifts for pretty much any one else except my parents, and that is something to worry about when I get home from school.

    I only have a research paper, regular paper, policy paper, theories paper, optional theories paper, and two exams left! And then I’m done! Flying home a week from Monday. (Unfortunately the first three of those papers and one of the exams are due this coming Monday or Tuesday. Only a paper, an optional paper, and an exam actually during finals. Ugh.)

    ALSO, I have a date with a really cute girl tomorrow! Like a first date! I asked her out yesterday and it was terrifying. But she said yes! Woo!!

  4. hello tinsel-babes and tree-huggers,

    our presents are mostly sorted, I am also the dreadful sort of person that regifts a lot of things- when I had a subscription to lumberjanes I gave the whole stack to our friend who visits us at christmas every year. right now we have a pile of arty things and could-be-nice-for-somebody gifts. Girlfriend thinks this is moderately tacky, supplements with bottles of booze. Sometimes she makes kahlua, which is very nice.

    She just got back from a work trip and we’re getting a tree tomorrow, we may go to this place that has Newfoundland dogs hitched to carts to take your tree back to your car.

    things are pretty good! the queer film org here does an annual Christmas showing of Auntie Mame, and I bartended which mostly meant busting open champagne bottles as quickly as I could while an eager line of mostly gay men waited eagerly for bubbles. It was like Rocky Horror, people knew most of the lines! Unlike when you’re at a concert and people are singing along (this can be very annoying, sorry I’m a hater guys) it only made it better.

    Otherwise it’s been a very busy work week, and I feel good about the amount I’ve gotten done, and also like I’m going to stay home from a friend’s roller-skating birthday party because I’m a little bit sick and tired/ I don’t love roller skating! Do people actually love roller skating or do they love whimsy and nostalgia, I can’t tell. My friend loves roller skating and I love her but the love of roller skating is not transitive.

  5. I was going to make a friend of mine a bear-shaped wall-mounted bottle opener (and be the best Secret Santa gifter ever!), but we organized the gifting pretty last minute so I decided to just buy a cute one from Target.

    I might still make one for me. I personally think this one looks pretty cool.

    I’m a big fan of functional gifts that don’t take up a lot of space since the student apartments where I live are all so tiny.

  6. I’ve totally handled gifts for my chosen family (best friend of 8 years, her moms, my close friend from support group, and my long-distance friend), but I still need to run out and get stuff for my actual blood relatives. Whoops.

    I’m hella proud of everything I’ve bought so far, though. An artbook from her favorite video game for my best friend, a really gorgeous framed Totoro print for Mom #1 (since they’re redecorating and want some fun touches), a jade secret-poison-compartment ring for history buff Mom #2, a vintage Ninja Turtle action figure for support group friend’s growing collection, and an ABBA pin set for long-distance friend.

    I was hoping my job hunt would be a bit more fruitful so I wouldn’t have to borrow money from my mother for presents, since we have a really strained relationship, but I haven’t heard back from the places I interviewed. I’ve been kind of an anxious mess for the whole week over it, but maybe my luck will change soon.

    • Good luck with getting a new job! It can be so stressful applying and waiting. Sending you lots of good thoughts!

  7. Gift buying is difficult. My budget is low, but my desire to please my friends and family is high.

    In other news, my final exams are over! Also I finished watching all of The L Word on Netflix! Don’t ask me how much procrastinating I did to finish both those things at the same time!

  8. I am already too late to mail things to my own family, probably, which I guess is fine because I’m not a huge fan of things and they have enough things but I’m spending Christmas with my girlfriend’s family so I guess I have to get things for them? Our mothers are alike in that they only really like very particular things, except their very particular likes are polar opposites and at least with my own mother I sorta have some idea. Can I just give everyone framed photos of my cat?

  9. I am SO BAD AT CHRISTMAS and the people around me are AMAZING GIFT PSYCHICS so I tend to stress-procrastinate my xmas shoppingand then panic-shop on etsy MAYBE THIS IS WHY I’M BAD AT CHRISTMAS YOU GUYS. It doesn’t help that my family is made up of heathens who are vehemently anti-materialism (I’m getting my dad a book about how the oil industry is RUINING EVERYTHING for his collection of EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE NONFICTION and a garbage bag for the clutter he wants to get rid of, I shit you not). My brother is getting our grandfather’s beachcombing walking stick which I am “gifting” by way of calling around our extended family to figure out who has it and then telling him where to go to pick it up. My mom’s gonna get socks or something because she it literally IMPOSSIBLE to gift for — related story: last year she asked for a blue scarf and I brought her a marbled blue circle scarf of beauty which turned out to be “too dark” for her tastes so I kept it and she bought herself a blue scarf with her own money WHERE IS YOUR CHRISTMAS SPIRIT MOM.

    I’m v worried though because my girlfriend keeps dropping heavy hints about how much I’m going to LOVE the gift she’s getting me and HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE UP TO THAT. I feel like she knows I haven’t bought her gift yet because I’m terrible about keeping secrets so if I had one she would already know what it is – I got drunk at halloween and spoiled her anniversary present because I was just too excited and couldn’t wait (luckily she was also drunk/sleepy and doesn’t remember what I told her) which HEY GUYS WE CELEBRATED TWO YEARS TOGETHER THIS WEEK. Two. Years. We have an apartment and a cat and a minifridge specifically for booze if that isn’t a goddamn xmas miracle I don’t know what is.

    • Reading what other straddlers have posted, I noticed that there seem to be a few people stressing about gift giving.

      One of the most popular gifts that I have given people are cards with long letters inside, they are not even always overly deep or meaningful, sometimes I have written recollections of the person when they or I were little, or a recipe. Even younger cousins seemed to like these cards. So few people send proper cards or letters these days, that they are somewhat of a novelty, and to my mind, a good option for anyone who has to put presents in luggage or needs a gift for someone who has everything.

  10. I think my Christmas shopping is finished! Today I bought the present for my work Secret Santa thing. It’s the first time I’ve done Secret Santa and I’m really bad at buying for people I don’t know well. I literally had to go to my partner and say “HELP what do you buy for girls”. Apparently the answer is bath stuff.

    • Help what do you buy for girls is how I feel about one of my cousins… I just never know what to get her. Ugh. My little butch brain hurts. Bath stuff has been my go to for the last 9 years. I fear she may be sick of bath stuff. I’ll switch to candles.

  11. My brother gets a calendar. Every year. My best friend (ex girlfriend) is getting my collection of DTWOF paperbacks because she called dibs before I gave away like half my library to the Gender and Sexuality Center on campus, and hopefully she’ll give me back my copy of “Angry Candy”. Dad will get… something humourous from Goodwill, or a card. I’ll get mom a book. Probably. Honestly none of us need any more objects.
    The Extended Family does a holiday lottery every year (because there are so goddamned many of us, all the adults opt in to the drawing) and I got one of my more boring uncles. He’s getting a Lowe’s gift card (this is on his list I’m serious) and some local-roasted pecan coffee. One of the better cousins drew me, so maybe I’ll get something cool out of it. Or chocolate and money, which is all that’s on my list.

  12. I wish I knew about that street when I was visiting Edinburgh a few years back, it sounds pretty neat. I don’t have many people to shop for this year as most of my friends are out of town. And if they aren’t I like to give the gift of wine or festive liqueur. Though I do I think I may just take my sister to the Lstn store(their headphones was mentioned in one of the gift guides here) and buy her headphones. I would prefer to have here with me to choose, which finish she may prefer?

    Hows everyone’s week? It went from a nice Spring day to a cold fall day in span of 24 hours. So, I am kind of hating it and liking. Hating it cause it went cold so quick, liking it cause I get to wear jackets(which help hide that I have breast forms on when in an unfamiliar area.

    I spent last Sunday at a wild-life preserve with my mother, grandmother and aunt. It was mostly nice, but gendering reared it’s head. My mother said on the phone, “I am spending time with my son.” I corrected her, by saying child. She replied, “you’re not a child, you are my grown adult son.” Ugh……. Maybe if I keep pressing on my parents will get it? On the plus side I have some good images from the day(at least I like to think they are good).

    “Birds flying high, you know how I feel”

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  13. I love gift giving this time of year. When I was a little kid I asked for money so I could go buy presents for my baby friends. So the tradition started young. In general I am anti-consumerism and cheap, not to mention secular, but I love going through a list of my family and friends and finding things to give to them. Sometimes the things are from the thrift stores or grocery stores. This year I ordered personalized picture mugs for most of the people on my list.

    My wife is not big on the holiday, and generally I’m the one convincing her that we should be frugal. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t spend money and buy stuff, but I do figure it into the budget and it gives me so much joy to give to others, especially when I can find something that makes them happy.

    Lat year my wife was rather ba humbug about the whole thing, but went along with me to my friend’s house where I usually celebrate. By the end of the time she had happy tears- one friend got her a salt lamp which she had been wanting, another some gloves that she needed, and I made her a book of photos from our wedding.

    When working with little kids I always ask what they are going to give for the holiday instead of what they want to get. Hugs, kisses, smiles, and pictures can be fun to give and receive!

  14. Oh my god, this post made my heart beat a little too rapidly. I literally don’t have a single present. I’m in Colombia, landing in Europe on like the 23rd, and errrrr think I’m just gonna get loads of sweets and coffee candy and maybe coffee for everyone? Hey, I forgot, I do have one present for my mum: a sexy trans calendar made by a group of trans women here in Bogotá! Yay!

    And hey Autostraddle, the FIRST EVER (I have no way of knowing whether that’s true) Autostraddle meetup in Colombia took place yesterday! We were two straddlers plus my partner, eating Mexican food and caaaaake! Are there more straddlers in Colombia? We thought not. But if we were wrong, shout out!

    In other news I have been debating an interview ( I wrote about a very cool (not queer, “just” female, haha) journalist throughout the week, as someone wanted to discredit her work because she kinda stepped on other female journalists saying she was the only female foreign journalist in Syria when she was maybe in fact not. That was a long story not so short, but I liked debating it because resistance is fuuun.

    No more coffee for me, will save it for friends and family.

    Chao Adios Hasta luego rainbow drops of sugar

  15. I’m broke and Jewish and don’t really believe in presents, so I’m not getting anyone anything. Except my sister, who wants a pair of slippers. She’s getting me “Inside Out” on DVD.

    Tonight, I’m being interviewed for promo footage for an Off-Broadway musical I saw on Tuesday. I sent an email to one of the writers of the show about how much I related to it, and he (with my permission) sent it to the cast and posted it on social media, and it’s gone mini-viral. Then the writer & theatre company invited me to come in to be interviewed/filmed, so that’s tonight after work (in less than an hour). I’m nervous for all the reasons. But the show is about weight/body image, but I know that I’m helping others by going on camera, even if that scares me shitless.

    Also, I’m going someplace tonight that is in an area I have a huge phobia of going. AHHHHH! I’ll be okay, though…. I hope.

  16. I had great intentions to buy all my presents in November because I knew I’d have exams this month, but, uh, no.
    I’m going home sometime next week, so I have basically three or four days left in which to buy things, most of which will be spent studying, or actually in my exam.
    It’s beginning to feel a lot like (Amazon) Prime time!

    I definitely feel like time has rushed by way too fast though!
    I had all these plans to do the whole Christmas market thing and make a fool out of myself due to my severe lack of ice skating skills, and I wanted to meet with some Straddlers too!
    I am still dedicated to the plans, but have no idea how I’ll logistically manage to fit everything in, haha.

    You know when you have an exam in a couple of days and you’re more focused on making gingerbread houses, and you’re trying not to be stressed, but also if you stop and think for one second you scream internally? That is my life.
    But the good news is, it’ll be OVER soon!!! And I get to come home and hang out with my dog. <3

    • the season always passes by too fast, but don’t worry, there’s still time! like that tegan and sara song.

  17. I have not a single idea what to do for anyone this holiday season, least of all my new person. Can I just knit them all one afghan to cuddle under together?

  18. Everything is terrible and it doesn’t feel like Christmastime at all. Sorry, guys, it’s just.

    Everything is so stressful and I can tell my depression is getting worse. But the DBT place I wanted to get a therapist at doesn’t take medicaid. So I have to try to find someone on Psychology Today. I mean, like, last night, I was doing my volunteer job, and I felt out of it, like I couldn’t focus. I was exhausted, and I had slept all day.

    My dog got upset at dad on this Wednesday, too. Barking and growling. My dad, again, reacted poorly; i, again, had a breakdown. This time I screamed at my dog. :(

    So, now things are really shitty: today was going fine until dad got home. I was playing music for my pup, and earlier we had done muzzle training with really good treats. I was going to go to a taphouse with my parents. I got ready and brought the dog down. He was totally friendly towards my father, but said father was cold towards him. My mom, who cried a lot last night, started tearing up. Me, my mother, and my younger brother all tried to get through my father’s thick fucking skull that Durin is not out to get him, that he’s communicating that he feels upset/afraid/threatened/uncomfortable. He even growled at me yesterday morning; idk why, but I simply turned and left.

    Did my father listen? Nooooooo, of course not! He even claimed that he reacted calmly Wednesday night, when he shouted at the dog again, and made eye contact, and was wholly angry. Which only exacerbates the situation. But he’s over here claiming the dog escalated. He didn’t listen to my explanations, didn’t listen to the fact that animals react certain ways and that he was taking it way too personally. My brother told him he was being childish; he responded with, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Then he loudly yanked the inside door open, so of COURSE Durin started barking. Like, how much of a fucking two year old is he being? Like he did it on purpose as if to say “see?” As if the dog wasn’t calm before that, as if the dog wasn’t trying to be pet by him before that? But my father apparently likes to nurse his victim complex, despite the fact that there’s no basis for it. Despite the fact that this is taking a massive emotional toll on the rest of us. My mom was crying, for fucks sake! But oh no, the world is out to get him!

    I’m so pissed. When they left, I could tell Durin had been scared, because he smelled like fish, so his anal sacs released. I’m SO pissed. Nothing’s going to change if we’re not all on the same page, so if my father can’t straighten up and fucking fly right, and stop acting like an animal’s fear response is some fucking personal attack, idk what’s going to happen.

    And, like, great, tomorrow’s Saturday, so he’ll be around. And, great, I’m out of a medication that I need picked up, but my father’s the only driver.

    And I’m the one who’s been researching and asking ppl on the Internet about what’s going on, and how can it be dealt with. I think I have some clue as to what I’m talking about. But noooo, let’s not listen to Caitlin! She doesn’t know what she’s talking about at all! Not like I went to training classes with my dog or anything, either.

    So everything is just really shitty and birthmas is in two weeks and it doesn’t feel Christmas-y at all. I wanna flip a table or something; i’m disgruntled. :p

      • But but but—

        Now my mom just told me she’s worried my father would move out?? She says the older he gets the more like his father he gets, which she says is a bad thing. I swear, if he leaves, I’ll punch him in the jaw myself, probably while I’m crying.

        He was all mean about it when they got back tonight, I didn’t even look at him. I was too irritated and angry.

        This is so so so stressful. I’m so done with life.

  19. Sorry, can’t contribute on the presents front, however, I just came home from the opera, where they showed West Side Story!
    The music and the dancing and everything was just so, so beautiful and well done it was like someone wraps a warm hand gently around your Heart and squeezes, just a little bit.
    And it was a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, which I forgot just how much I loved.
    All of that said, they incorporated a rape scene, very graphic, too, and I was just sitting there and I couldn’t believe that I’m sitting in an old, baroque opera, seeing one of the most beautiful stage plays I’ve ever seen, and yet, I have this shit sprung upon me.Again.
    Like, last week, I started watching “The Affair” because everyone was talking about it, and about half an hour into the pilot Dawson Creek’s Pacey just pops up with a tattoo and..well.
    It’s not a plot device, people.
    I feel like I’m reading juvenile Wicked fanfiction again, sigh.
    But apart from that, it really was one beautiful play.

    • the opera! i used to go to the opera a lot when i was back in dc and i just had to let you know how jealous i was that you went!

      • I hardly go ever!
        Due to my city being divided during the cold war, we even have three opera houses and two concert halls, two musical universities, etc.
        I used to go to the exam concerts at the University of Arts a lot during college, because of no money and those concerts were usually very good, not run of the mill (people need to get their final exams for stuff like classical guitar,too) and either just a literal two bucks or entirely for free!
        But I’ve really been slacking off, I hardly go to the movies anymore,either.
        Except for tomorrow, when I’m going to see “Carol”!!
        Finally! I’ve been waiting for tomorrow since May and I’m actually a little nervous, almost.
        Like I’m going on a date with that movie!

  20. i try very hard to be super organized around the holigays (see: last week’s open thread) but that’s made much, much more simpler by the fact that i don’t give / get many actual “gifts” with folks. like, i exchange cards with everyone / anyone, but i really only do gift exchanges with my mom, brother, and geneva, and i always go all-out for eli. geneva i’m still working on, but mostly my mom is done and i think i’m gonna buy rocky a huge lawn ornament that is a christmassy dog, SO THAT’S THAT.

    also, i am very terrible at gift wrapping but i think i do a good job of hiding it. but bags. gift bags? those are my eternal fucking weakness.

    • And I thought I was the only one who struggled with gift bags! I can wrap a box or even an awkwardly-shaped gift decently, but my gift bags usually look like I threw trash and crumpled tissue paper in an old paper bag. To think that gift bags are supposed to be the “easy” option. HA! Lies!

    • come to the abby next week I will gift you shots if you’d like. Really, I just like sharing booze(and flowers) with people.

  21. I’ve got my presents for my sister and I just have to get stuff for my parents, but I know what I’m getting them so its all good!

    I pitched an article to someone last week and I was doing it moreso because that’s on my list of things to learn from (because I want to write/edit but I don’t want to go around telling everyone I just wanna kinda sneak attack them with it), but they actually accepted the pitch and offered to help me with it if they don’t take it which is great! And I’ve been having at least two panic attacks every day since trying to write it! But it’s coming together (I think?) and I’ve just decided that if I’m okay with it and have done my best, then it’ll be okay. I decide that every like two hours so let’s hope it sticks along long enough for me to get this done.

    I haven’t really had time to do much else cause panic attacks are time consuming and I’ve been like dissociating all week, but my birthday is next week and I took off the day after my birthday and I’m pretty excited about that.

    Hope everyone’s doing okay and you have a great weekend!

  22. oh man i’m so bad at getting people’s gifts and stuff! I’ll have my cards out by the 15th and like, that is a BIG DEAL. But I don’t get my paycheck until the 23rd, and like bills and poor money management and yada yada college stuff means that I won’t be able to get actual gifts until like the 23rd. WHICH IS PUSHING IT. Luckily, I only gift things to my immediate family so I’m not toooooo stressed.

  23. I had SUCH PLANS for presents. And then I got appendicitis and all those plans have gone through the window, rolled down the hill into the lake, and floated away and probably disintigrated.

    I’m hoping I start feeling well enough to knit something for my mom & grandmother. There’s zero way I’m gonna finish the blanket I wanted to make for the friends I lived with for most of the summer for Christmas, but maybe it can be a late gift? Especially since it’s been so warm, they don’t need another blanket right now. And I’m hoping I can knit the scarf-or-hat (not sure which one tbh) or my sis that I think she’ll appreciate and I think I’ll try to knit a hat for my bro even though his head is literally child-sized so I’m worried about it fitting okay. He still wears a hat from when he was in first grade, no joke (and I think he even still fits into his 18-month hat) like I am confused how an adult human has such a tiny head.

    But yeah, appendicitis isn’t fun, but I’m glad that they finally figured out what was wrong with me and got my appendix out on Tuesday, and I’m staying at my parents’ to recuperate for the time being.

    Here’s some photos I’ve taken where I’ve been doing some hiking and scouting potential whitewater! I haven’t found anything that’ll go yet, but I’ve had some beautiful hikes so it’s all good. I’m mostly disappointed this has to take a back seat for a bit, but once I’m feeling a bit better, I’ll probably be doing a lot of hiking since I can’t boat for at least 6 weeks :(

    <img src=";

    Also if anyone wants to see a picture of my innards, I have pictures of my appendix and surrounding guts from the exploratory laproscopic surgery they did before they took out my appendix and I think it's neat and would love to share (but also know that boundaries might be a thing and that not everyone thinks pictures of internal organs are as cool as I think they are).

    • I hope you feel better soon! I also think that pictures of innards are often cool, but it’s tricky.

    • oh gosh! i’m glad you got a diagnosis and treatment! i remember your post from last week and it sounded rough! heal up soon and hope you enjoy the holidays.

  24. I am so happy to be able share that I finished my Christmas shopping TODAY!!!

    Once upon a time, I finished pretty much everything before Thanksgiving: shopping, wrapping (in coordinating paper/trim, no less!) and planning/shopping for all of my Christmas baking. No room for humble brags here – I felt like the Queen of the F*ing Holidays!

    I have yet to live up to that year, as I usually have no idea what I want to do and end up running around frantically at the last minute. So finishing two weeks ahead this year is still a win in my book. Now for some hot cocoa… :D

  25. I’m so good at Christmas presents this year!!

    My mom got the typical mom stuff-a necklace from the art gallery where I work and a stained glass suncatcher with a flower in it made by my friend.

    For my co-workers, I found a box of old records (which appear to have been at one point stolen from a library) that my friend was about to throw away, so I took them, and melted them into bowls and filled them with candy for my co-workers.

    For my best friends, I cross stitched pictures: one of some sailor moon thing I know nothing about but googled “cute sailor moon things”… one of a black and white house from pokemon with the little guy next to it… one picture of pizza that says “pizza rolls not gender roles”… and one picture of Ohio with a little heart over cleveland. It took so many hours and I’m so proud of them, but I am going to take a major break from cross stitching after this.

    Last summer my dad learned how to fire hula hoop, so I thought fire poi could be a cool new talent, so I bought him normal poi and some dvds so he could learn that.

    I got my nerdy brother a pillow made out of a towel that says “don’t panic” screen printed on it.

    And I haven’t bought them yet, but Grandpa is getting a half a dozen different kinds of syrup from a place called Grandpa’s Cheesebarn.

    Everything is either hand-made by me or friends or bought from a small business. I have really nice gifts for 12 people for under $125. Definitely the way Christmas should be.

  26. I haven’t bought most of the presents I need to get yet. But I did buy my sister a book about how to take the perfect polaroid. Now I need to start thinking about what to get everyone else.
    Anyway last night I went to see the 1989 world tour and oh my god Taylor was amazing! So that was probably the highlight of my year. It was also my first concert so that made it especially exciting. And I’m going to see #nofilter live with Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig next week so that is going to be awesome.

  27. I did a reading for myself tonight, which I have been avoiding for a couple of months even though I needed some direction. And I drew the 8 of cups. Except it was reversed.

    It hit me really, really hard. The 8 of cups was showing up constantly for me through most of this year and then there it is. I think it sunk in for me, finally. The goals I wanted to achieve this year have been (mostly) accomplished. I moved on (which is what the 8 of cups is for me- a world weariness, but still upright, still moving and headed toward something in the distance). My deck is a sort of modified Rider-Waite and the figure on the card is walking towards mountains. If I’m that figure, then I’ve reached the mountains. And now I have to figure out what to do now I’m here.

    It’s been a real struggle for me to figure that out, these last few months. Somehow, I’ve been avoiding that recognition and now it’s here and I feel a lot better. I can start planning and building this thing I’ve been walking towards for so long. I’m really here.

    (p.s. @littleredtarot – I was using the personal compass spread from your website for this. Thank you so much.)

    • @ashurredly I really feel your interpretation of the 8 of Cups too – the tired knowing that moving on is the only thing now. But you’re right – what do you do when you reach the mountains? I’m so glad the spread was helpful.

  28. I love Christmas and the best part is wrapping gifts. I wait till a couple days before Christmas, get rip roaring drunk on my moms margeritas, and wrap gifts using no tape, tons of glitter and random stuff I glue to the gifts, like glow sticks. I am the worst at waiting last minute. I bought my mom wine glasses, then she found out what I bought her and now she keeps dropping hints that I need to buy her something else. I bought my nieces books, lots of them, for any of yall who don’t know, is amazing, you can find books for dirt cheep. It’s like the Amazon of books. And I bought my brother scotch, really good scotch, and I am contemplating keeping it. That is all I have got so far, which is sad because I started early, then bought nothing months ago, forgot now am trying to come up with stuff. I need to buy something for my dad, who is ridiculously difficult to buy for. He has a drawer full of stuff he has never touched. I need to buy something for my BF who likes to get bags full of a lot of little things themed of course, she likes cat themes. And I need to buy something for my girlfriend who has given me a list of exactly one thing, jeans. And her family. On the up side, we’re going on a unplanned 2 day trip on Monday, I can’t wait

  29. I finally finished every single one of my finals today.
    One of my best friends also decided she needed space from me, instead of talking out a little tension between us, that she has been putting off for a week and now just doesn’t want to do. I’m kinda really hurt and sad about it. I just don’t know what to do.
    I wrapped up all the present I got for my friends after she told me that. I even wrapped hers even though I really didnt want to. I have no idea when I’ll give them to her. We were all supposed to exchange gifts together, but now that she wants nothing to do with me, at least for a while, I have no idea when I’ll give any of them their gifts. Its really got me messed up. Pretty sure I’m going to be in bed all weekend, especially after finals and everything. I’m just done.

    • congrats on finishing finals yayy!

      friend fights are terrible. i’m on the other side of this right now; my bff and i had a fight and i told him i needed space and have cut off all contact. it sucks, but i explained i wasn’t doing it to be spiteful, i just didn’t have the emotional resources to deal rn.

      so, maybe some of the stuff going on with me is also going on with your friend? are they an introvert and need solitude in order to recharge their social batteries esp for tense situations? do they have something stressful / demanding going on in another area of their life (I’m defending my phd this semester)? do they have baggage from before you met that may have made this situation more difficult than just the disagreement you had recently? do they have a preference for waiting until they’re not as angry before talking stuff out?

      there can be many factors going on with your friend that have nothing to do with you or the fight you had, or the strength of your friendship, but it can affect how communication plays out. so i guess my hope for both you and for my own bff is that they can take some comfort that things will sort out and we are doing what we need to do, and yes we still value our friendship and hope that you can focus on other things and not worry too much in the time being.

      but yes, friend fights are terrible. i hope you get to give them your nice present.

      • friend fights are the hardest
        She is the kind of person who retreats and isolates when she is having a hard time. I know she has SAD, and that is affecting her, possibly more than she even realizes. Thanks for the reassurance. It’s good to hear a point of view from the other side, since she isn’t talking to me. and all our other friends aren’t really telling me anything helpful or reassuring. I hope I can not worry in the time being. It’ll be really hard. If I knew that at the end of all this, she will still talk to me and we can be friends again like we were, I would be ok. But I’m so worried. Once friends “take space” from me they almost NEVER come back.

        • thanks for reply. yeah for sure SAD could make a difference that your friend doesn’t even realize rn.

          there’s a story on AS somewhere about Laneia and Riese being in the ‘friend-fight’ boat and not talking to each other, and I think Riese ended up making Laneia an appreciation tumblr? Maybe a tribute tumblr would give you an outlet and also give your friend a way to hear you while still having the space she wants rn?

          idk Jay good luck! Let us know how it goes if you like. There’s so many wise words on this site about friendships, your words included.

          as for me, the time away from this friend helped me realize that i need more barriers / less interaction with him in my life, but I definitely still want him in my life because we are bff’s. Hopefully that gives you some hope for your friend to come back, too! And that your friendship will be stronger than ever. I hope you have great holidays!

          • Thanks <3
            I love the story about Riese making Laneia a tumblr!!!!! I actually decided to do the same thing, right after I replied to you the first time. So I just saw that you had the same idea too. Which is great, because I was a little worried it would be too much, too clingy. But I think it is the right thing to do, its a good outlet, and hopefully when she does talk to me again, I'll tell her and it will be a good thing for her to see. I don't know if I should tell her about it now, or wait for a little while, or till she talks to me again.
            Thanks for replying :)

    • Oh my god @kendra, I’m so sorry about you and your friend. Hope some of the warm advice shared here helps. It’s true, friend fights are the worst. There’s just no protocol.

  30. HEHLLO STRADDLEVERSE!! It’s almost 2am and I just got home from the Christmas party from work. IT WAS SO GREAT YOU GUYS.Well I think last year’s was better but this year we were in some fancy club house thing in the mountains which gave a really really awesome view.

    Taken about 2 or 3 miles from our venue up in Angeles Crest.

    BUT GIFTS THO. I did some shopping the other day and the sales dude said “you’re trying to beat the weekend crowd huh” and I said OF COURSE. Who wants to be here on Saturday with no parking and no size mediums you know lol. I still have a few people to shop for. LIKE MY MOTHER. LE SIGH.
    I love gift bags!! Because I think I can’t wrap properly (?) It’s weird…one side always looks so much better.

    This is me at our Xmas Party. We had a roaring 20s thing going on. The pipe really completed the private eye look.

    FINALLY COMPLETED 4/4 Star Wars metal earth that they released for The Force Awakens. This is the Special TIE fighter. So much detail!! I would put this in the medium hard challenging category. It doesn’t have a ton of pieces and it was the only one that didn’t come with TWO PAGES of instructions to build.

  31. Not to brag, but I am legit so shit-hot at the gift giving thing. Dad’s getting tickets to see Mavis! (a doco about Mavis Staples. He loves Mavis Staples), Mum’s getting an apron (not in a “get back in the kitchen, woman” way; more a “you love to cook and this is a seriously nice apron” way), my sister’s getting a beautiful locally made oil burner, brother-in-law’s getting a big cast iron cooking pot (get back in the kitchen, man), and my brother’s getting cash because he’s broke and on the other side of the world and needs to buy beer.

    My gorgeous lady is getting a whole stack of presents because she’s too cute to only receive one thing!

    • Haha, yeah getting mums kitchen-y things always feels a bit wrong to me, but if they are beautiful items that they want then sod the fake feminism!! And a truly lovely apron is a beautiful thing.

  32. Hope everyone is having s lovely weekend and in no way panicking that it’s 13 days til C-day. I’m on low budget Xmas to save for Missus and I’s great adventure; a holiday that’s not Spain or Northumberland. So I’m making everything except for a very very few people. Meaning I’m now facing the reality of being extremely time poor. I promised my parents a painting which I’ve started-but it’s massive. I’ve got a chalkboard memo thingy to make for one b-fri, and a tree stump to sand and make into something wedding commemorative for the other, and a branch (which has been drying for a year) to throw through the chop saw to make decorations/labels. All I want for Christmas is an extra day in the week. Best of luck everyone :)

  33. I’m one sock and half a scarf away from being completely done with all winter holiday presents (yay!) but I have finals this week (much less yay, especially because I have calculus and physics in the same day because whoever schedules these exams has a sick sense of humor). And if my friend doesn’t bail on me AGAIN tomorrow I’ll be able to give them their sweater (which ate up way more time than it really should have, this person’s torso is unbelievably long)

    • Well done for knitting all the things! (especially sweaters, my god). I wish so much I could do this – I normally have the patience for one knitted item per year. This year…I’m about 1/3 of the way through it (a snuggly cowl). Good luck with yours!!

  34. This year everyone is getting a food item and they WILL enjoy it. Last year I was emperor of gifts, but also last year I had more money.

    I have planned coconut macaroons for one person, another my usual holiday cookie mix but with more chocolate. The rest is very much up in the air.
    I may try to experiment with cuccidati dough again. Maybe little Epiphany “wreathe” cookies, but if I really wanted to make king cake cookies I’d use the cinnamon roll cookie recipe to do.

    Annnd maybe if I can swing it a breakfast tray because I know someone who needs one. Has two desks but can’t eat off either of them and there for eats in the king size mattress that eats the floor space.

    If I felt I had the time and knew someone who loves pickled veggies I’d give a jar with a little bit of twine tied in a bow around it. Never pickled anything before but I do know I like pickled root vegetables. And vinegar.
    I’ve eaten mustard before like it was hummus or something.

    • i wish i had a friend give me pickled veggies! yes to eating mustard! all your hand-made food gifts sound really good! Have great holidays!

    • Well this is adorable. What could be better than home cooked goodies? Every year my nan makes me these chocoltes called ‘Narneys Nibbles’, she invented them for me when I was a hardcore vegan. I look forward to this little package of handmade-with-love much more than any bought gift :)

  35. Honestly I’m not too great at the whole gift giving thing, especially with surprises in mind. My whole family is pretty crap at it. My mom is traditionally the whole ‘nothing, or socks, or a sweater’ type. My dad lives in Texas, so I won’t even see him for Christmas… he’s probably getting a an awkward phone call (all phone calls between us are awkward, doubly so since I changed my name, and committed to dying my hair teal. At this point I should double down on an alt hairstyle so phone calls can reach terminal levels of awkwardness). My mom’s boyfriend… ???? I don’t even know what he would want. Like, for real, I can totally geek out with him about computer stuff and he can keep up with me, but aside from that and hiking and birding, I got nothing. Maybe I should bring a thermos of mulled wine to share or something, idk.

    My girlfriend is big into the gift giving thing, to the point that she stresses herself out to a ridiculous degree every year. Our conversations usually go: “What do you want for Christmas?” “IDK” *a day later* “What do you want for Christmas?” “I don’t know when is that even?” “…less than two weeks from now, gawd Kaylin.”

    I think she is getting us DNA test kits from 23andme, because we’ve always been super curious about our ancestry, and what exactly is floating around in our genes. So, SCIENCE CHRISTMAS. I’ll probably do what I’ve done in years past where we go to the mall, and I just like pay for $50 or so bucks of clothes for her… she usually likes that, it’s nothing special, but it means we get to go hang out for awhile, get hot drinks, just have some fun while everybody else is stressed about last minute holiday shopping… and honestly that is perfectly fine by me.

    Mostly, I’m just looking forward to the five day weekend from work. *looks meaningfully at her gaming computer* I’ve got another play through of Life is Strange I want to get through, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of Fallout 4, not to mention I just did the shared library thing with some friends, so yeah…

Comments are closed.