FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Sorry But I’m Already in Holigay Overdrive, How Are You

Hello, butter cookie tins, and welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread! As you’re well aware by now, this is our weekly sacred space to chill with one another all weekend long after surviving a week in the harsh, cold world. (And also to share photos of our pets, cute updates about our relationships, and, in my wildest dreams, our favorite recipes.) I’m hoping that this week, it’s a space filled with even more joy, cheer, and goodwill toward ‘straddlers than ever — ’cause this is the first Friday Open Thread of the no-holds-barred, tinsel-and-garland-filled, nonstop-hot-cocoa, dog days of the HOLIGAY SEASON!

We’ve been rolling out a whole mess of holigay content for you since November, including some epic gift guides and DIY ideas to simplify your shopping for the season. And some of y’all are even making a guest list and checking it twice because you’re hosting holigay meet-ups! (Which, I mean, GOOD ON YOU, y’all. KEEP IT UP.)

As for me, a small human on this vast planet who uses the Santa emoticon liberally and rocks around Christmas trees whenever possible, I’m proud to announce that this is the year — the year I sent my holigay cards right after Thanksgiving, snagged a bunch of gifts before I even had time to buy reindeer wrapping paper, hung the stockings by December 3, and designed four foam mini-wreaths to hang around my house in the first few days of the season. It’s a new city, a new life, and a new chance to show a bunch of people I’ve never been able to hang out with in December how obsessed I am with the season, after all! I’m even wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with Santa’s face on it as we speak.

I think it goes without saying, or I guess without saying anything more than what I just said, that I’m a holigay type. A self-described festive machine hellbent on bringing joy to others through forcible consumption of yuletide joy. A person who spends the entirety of December acting like a Who who just escaped from Whoville. A woman in a Santa sweatshirt. A woman walking a dog who is wearing a Santa hat and beard.

And thus, I wanted to host this week’s thread and talk to all of you about the holigays. What holigay are you gearing up for as I write? How jazzed are you for that holigay party happening later this week? What’s the gift you’re most excited to give this year? Do you have a favorite holigay tradition to pass down to us all? And also, do you want me to send you a holigay card? DON’T HOLD BACK ON YOUR HOLIGAY FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS. THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR.

You’re welcome in this space to also be a little bit of a grinch and bah humbug about the whole season, because I’ll still love you. Or, you can come right on in, take a seat, and talk to me about something that doesn’t even have to do with the holigay season! I’m still obviously super excited to hear about what toppings you put on your pizza this week, what crafty stuff you’ve been working on in your garage, and that cute girl you just asked out in the library.

On ‘straddlers, on lurkers, on readers and tweeters! Get in here and comment about all of your feelings. (You know you want to.)

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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.

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    1. What kind of Christmas tree should I get
    2. How many times will I watch Elf and Love Actually over the next month
    3. Do I have time to learn to finger-knit and make infinity scarves for everyone in my family
    4. When I turn 32 this month – the age at which I always wanted to have my first child – and I am neither partnered nor anywhere near ready to have kids…how do I deal with the irrepressible MARCH OF TIME?

    • 1. We’ve been putting up a not real tree for years now so I can’t really help with this one, sorry.
      2. I’m voting for at least four times a week tHOUGH Elf is my favorite and I’m not against that one just becoming the backdrop of your life and it playing like 24/7 for all of December.
      3. I’m not sure how dedicated you are but I’m going with it’s possible!
      4. This may not be the answer you’re looking for but whenever time gets the worst of me, I pretend I’m a citizen of Welcome to Night Vale and that time is a really confusing if even rational reality and tell myself that in a universe where time makes sense, I have this shit worked out, and probably that other self in a different reality will send me some tips on how to get what I need in this reality. Also, you’re going to be a great mom at whatever age it happens, and they’re gonna be so lucky to have someone as wonderful as you.

    • 1. the pink foil kind
      2. as many times as i will watch the santa clause and the year without a santa claus
      3. just ask yourself: wwjd (what would jasika do)
      4. open a baby yoga studio

      • My mom is super into little decorative foil trees. They look really good if you have several and decorate each of them with ornaments in a different color range. We also have a live Japanese dwarf spruce in the backyard that we cover with lights because I went through a phase as a kid where chopping down a Xmas tree made me sad and I got my parents to buy a manageably-sized live one instead.

    • 1) a real or fake one with pinecones attached

      2)watch elf a billion times and don’t watch love actually, it rots your brain, there’s a lesbian subplot in the extras fyi

      3) probably not but you could probably make like 5 but also if you make something sweet like magnets or salt scrub nobody will be disappointed and it would take less time.

      4) idk! I started moisturizing last year because I turned 30. it is weird getting older. what I find reassuring is that there are people my age I know with houses and kids and whatever, and people my age and older that live with roommates working in coffeeshops and making up weird performance art pieces, and they’re both fine. one is a more expensive choice. when I feel overwhelmed by these things I listen to that ‘sing out’ song by cat stevens on repeat and girlfriend knows that that means that I may be like “SHOULD WE HAVE MOVED TO BELGIUM. WHY AM I A THERAPIST. MAYBE WE SHOULD SLEEP IN HAMMOCKS.” And like, idk. I hope you’re okay, and you’re probably okay, and if you’re okay, then it’s okay, right? Like also, being a parent sounds way cool, but like, being partnered and getting hitched and all that stuff is it’s own heapton of bullshit that’s just different than the bullshit you’re doing now. I bet how you’re carrying on now is great. We want you to be happy! With lots of opportunities for knitting! And holiday films! And stuff!

      • “Like also, being a parent sounds way cool, but like, being partnered and getting hitched and all that stuff is it’s own heapton of bullshit that’s just different than the bullshit you’re doing now” is an extraordinarily helpful thing to keep in mind.

          • Yes, absolutely hammocks CAN be hard on your neck. They don’t have to be, so long as you don’t use a thick pillow and sleep diagonally on them. (I spent most of the summer sleeping in a hammock and I think it’s great, but there were a few times when I slept wrong and REALLY regretted it the next day)

    • 1. A rainbow one, that glitters?

      2. As many times it’s on tv?

      3. Yes.

      4. Like most people, lie about your age?

    • 1. a Charlie Brown underdog tree
      2. I don’t know, but I think you should go on an elf-date with a friend or gal pal: make snow angels for a two hours, go ice skating, eat Tollhouse Cookie dough, and snuggle.
      3. YES! I believe in you!
      4. Spend time with your furbabies?

  2. I’m…not overly fond of the holidays but my best best friend’s birthday is the week after next and since she’s still going to be in Chicago then I gave her the scarf I’d knit for her over the weekend and she wore it all day and it made me really happy. (She also still wears the hat I knit her 4 years ago which makes me really happy)
    Also I’m a pair of socks and half a scarf away from being done with holiday knitting hell!

      • Ayy.
        (Also I’m super pumped for Hannukah and everything that my university’s Hillel is doing this week – we’re having a latke party on Wednesday night, and therapy dogs to relax before finals on Thursday)

        • i earnestly wish i could participate in latke party and hug a therapy doggggggg what a great idea for finals week. enjoy! post pics!

  3. Gearing up for Christmas!

    I WOULD LOVE A HOLIGAY CARD getting stuff in the mail that’s not bills is one of my favorite things ever !

    I don’t know how but watching The Wiz last night has made me feel magical, like everything good is possible, so this post came at the right time and I am sUPER PUMPED FOR THE HOLIDAYS (and also my birthday which is in two-ish weeks!)

    I got my sister this like cartoon themed set of gifts (one of her favorite characters from three different shows) and I’m so excited I want to give it to her like three weeks ago pretty much.

    And usually, I just let everyone get whatever for me, but I’ve been like pretty clear about what i want (big gifts make me so anxious) and it’s gone pretty well so far!

    On a not so holiday happy note, my dad told me on Thanksgiving that he doesn’t support homosexuality (which wasn’t in reference to me but like came almost out of nowhere/cause we always have huge things for Thanksgiving but this is the first year we didn’t have to so I was super excited/even more caught off guard) and I’ve been rattled about it for a few days and am still kind of angry/really sad about it, but I told my sister and she helped me through the worst of it, and she always lets me talk about crushes and stuff without making me feel like I’m like inherently evil or something, and I’m still real sad but I’ve had a lot of support, so “it’s a hopeful kind of sad, the kind that gets better with time.”

    I’ve also had a lot of panic attacks with that and after bingewatching Jessica Jones/trying to write my feelings out about it but not being able to so it’s been kind of rough but it’s okay.

    Back into Holigay spirits! I put the tree up by myself just in time for my mom to come home from work and see it and she did a happy dance seeing it in the living room and that was worth all my holiday cheer right there.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!


      I feel like parents sometimes talk generally in one way, but when confronted with their child’s own actual situation, are able to eventually come round? I’m glad you’re hopeful.

      Here’s to Christmas trees and happy dances! <3

      • Ah I’m gonna keep saying that to myself: everything good is possible! I love that!

        Thank you so much, sending Christmas movie happiness and hot drinks (especially hot chocolate) your way!

    • @asmithers, DM me your address, i’ll send you a holigay card! you deserve some holigay moments free from the bullshit. LET’S DO THIS. you are loved!

  4. Hello All!

    I wouldn’t say that I hate Christmas but more that I lack the enthusiasm for it, so much so that I don’t by gifts or listen to holiday music or participate in the office secret Santa.

    In other news, I bought a new car this week which I’m super excited about and have been telling everyone I come into contact with. It’s a hybrid so I’m doing my part to save the environment one long commute at a time.


      • Totally, I got a new Honda Civic Hybrid and it drives like a dream! I feel like I’m driving on an actual cloud. One of the coolest features it has is a camera under the passenger’s side mirror so you can see what is in your blind spot, it comes on automatically when you turn the signal light on or there is a switch to turn it on randomly while you are driving. I can see it being a distraction fo sho but it’s totally cool. I do a lot of commuting back and forth to work everyday so I’m excited to see how far I can go on a tank of gas.

  5. I also love the holidays! My housemates and I made wreaths out of THINGS WE FOUND IN THE FOREST and today is my housemate’s birthday and we’re going out to dinner and then Sunday is MY birthday and it’s all great and exciting. Then next weekend I’m going to Munich with my friends for the Christmas markets and then the weekend after that I go home from uni for the holiday! (Also I have to deal with the first family do since I’ve come out to all of them but that should all go okay) Anyway HOLIDAYS!!!

  6. I think I might have accidentally outed myself to my best friend. I can’t remember what the situation was but a couple of months ago, he asked me to email him something and I didn’t think anything of it and just sent the thing using the email address I normally use. But he just sent me an email today because he didn’t have his phone with him and he wanted to talk to me because he finished reading the copy of Alias that I let him borrow and is watching Jessica Jones now. He says his favorite character on the show is Luke Cage (straight guys, am I right?) Anyway, my heart just about stopped because I realized that any email I have sent him or do send him from this address has my real name and not my birth name attached to it. So, I’m kind of freaking out. But the thing is, he hasn’t mentioned it. There’s been no, “Uh, hey, why does this say your name is Anja?” So, I don’t know what to think.

    Anyway, happy holigays everyone!

    • happy holigays! wishing you only the best resolution to that situation, which is that everything is fine and ok and maybe even better, maybe everything is great! yes, that one. that’s what i am wishing you: greatness.

        • Also without knowing ANYTHING about your best friend I think the fact that he didn’t question it when he got an e-mail from Anja is a really good sign. Unless he’s just got an incredibly oblivious personality, he might have an inkling and just be chilling and giving you your own time to broach the subject? That’s what I’d like to think is happening, anyway!

      • Thanks, y’all. I’m trying to think of how to put how I’m feeling into words. My friend is a good person and I don’t think he’d be upset by me telling him I’m trans. But I’m an extreme procrastinator. It takes me so long to do most big, important stuff. And I think it’s mostly due to my social anxiety. It’s hard for me to learn to do things in front of other people. I like to hide away and do my own research and then “Ta-da! Look, everyone! I know how to do the thing!” I mean, I gave up on learning how to ride a bike when I was a kid. And I still don’t know how. And learning how to drive was a struggle! Just because I didn’t want people to see me doing it.

        So, my issue with my friend knowing that I’m trans is less about how he’ll react and more that it was before I was ready to tell him. Knowing me, I know it’s probably going to be a good long while before I am actually ready to transition. And it’s for the same reason as everything else I stress out over. I don’t want people seeing the in-between. I want to emerge fully formed from my secret trans cave and say, “Ta-da! Not a guy!”

        • I want to offer encouragement! You can do it, and you can do it in your own time.

          And, I sympathize. I’ve struggled with wanting to do things independently and emerge as a fully-formed expert on everything. That was a big portion of my life, and my private world enveloped me, honestly. For me, it kept me from helping others out properly or seeing them properly at all.

          At some point, though, some things came along that I couldn’t deal with by myself, and I had to rewrite the patterns…. and now I have learned to grow alongside people, and trust myself and them to be vulnerable and in-transition in front of them. It’s helped me, and it’s also helped me see other people more clearly.

          I hope you get to a point where that feels possible too, because believe me, it’s the best damn thing!! Good luck!

        • Oh, man! I am a lot like this, too. In most aspects of life, I figure out what I need to do, do it, and announce it. If I can’t do it on my own, I don’t do it at all.

          Like before I came out as queer I really needed to have had my first significant relationship with a woman already, otherwise I just couldn’t, I would feel like a fraud, like I hadn’t “gotten there” yet.

          But I think that kept me really stuck for a lot of years before I realized I kind of just had to do it all concurrently if I ever wanted any of it to happen. And those years where I was stuck…I’m sad I “missed” them.

          Obvs my situation is pretty different, and I don’t mean to speak to your experience as a trans woman at all. But I definitely empathize with that feeling of needing to be “done” before letting other people in, and I hope that you can find at least some ways to let people like your best friend in BEFORE you’re “done!”

          If that makes any sense. Ugh was that unsolicited advice? I’m sorry. Happy Friday! <3

          • Thank you, claire and queer girl! It’s definitely something I need to work on. It’s way too easy to get really close to hermit status when I’m like this and there’s so many things I just leave unfinished. And it helps to know that there are others going through it or who have already gone through it.

            And queer girl, I’m always happy to talk to you so I don’t consider it unsolicited advice! Happy Friday to you, too! xoxo

    • good luck! i sympathize with the heart-stopping feeling of outing yourself to important people in your life. If he’s cool enough to be your bff, chances are excellent he will be happy to know the real you.

    • Oh, and I forgot to mention the time when I let my mom use my computer to check her email and when she logged out, it had the list of profiles that had logged in recently and she said, “Who’s Anja Blackmar?” and I said something ridiculous like, “Don’t worry about it,” and quickly grabbed my computer and took it back to my room! GOOGLE IS TRYING TO FORCIBLY REMOVE ME FROM THE CLOSET.

  7. This is the time of year where I try to pretend,that it’s not Christmas.
    I come from a very Christmas traditional family, but ever since my mom and Grandma moved far,far away, I keep being rather lost during the Holidays.
    I can’t stand my sister in law, my great aunt keeps traveling to picturesque villages with her elderly friends and I’m terminally single, with no go to solution on what to do during the holidays.
    I spent last year working the understaffed and overcrowded ER during the Holidays, but that turned out to be more jarring than anything.
    Every time someone wished me a “Merry Christmas”, I thought they were being ironic.
    So, this year, I might pony up and get on the plane for twenty something odd hours to see my mom in Florida, who drinks, or host a Turkey dinner for all of my working on Christmas friends, who’ll be stranded in town as well.
    Any advice on how to deal with the Holidays? That charmed time of the year, when your misanthrophic ways tend to trip you up?

    • @amidola, where do you live? maybe you could host a meet-up or maybe there’s one happening near you! that might help you feel some holigay cheer during the season. also, if you want a holigay card i’d love to send some cheer your way because you’re loved and you should feel that love this season and always! seriously! <3 <3 <3 <3

      also, if you pony up and get on the plane, i wish you a turbulence-free flight with solid free snacks. YOU DESERVE IT.

  8. Well, I came out on Christmas Day (at midnight; the timing was coincidental) in 2007. I came home from college and my grandmother (rest her soul) was on my ass about finding a cute boyfriend in college. I had enough and I ended up coming out to my mom after my grandmother went to bed. We stayed up until 4 in the morning; I really couldn’t ask for more supportive parents. That’s the abridged version of my coming out story. Haha.

    This week was awesome! I went to a Gatsby style event with a gal pal and had a blast. This is me with my deep cover dapper style. It’s pretty much what I wear most of the time sans the selfie stick beard and lips.

    I also went to the Hillary Clinton rally in Orlando on Wednesday and was chosen to sit DIRECTLY BEHIND HILLARY (Probably because I’m racially ambiguous and youthful looking. Also, I was totally rocking my LGBT Hillary pin.) And here’s a pic I think the AP took of the event with me in my flannel looking like I’m a stone-faced boxing coach telling Hilldog to throw jabs at the GOP. She also touched my shoulder and posed for a group picture where she’s RIGHT NEXT TO ME, but I wasn’t quick enough to ask for selfie.

    Also, I want to add what a terrible loss for rock music with Scott Weiland passing late yesterday. Stone Temple Pilots were one of the first alternative bands I got into as a kid. I started playing music almost 2 decades ago and STP has been one of those bands that I never fell out of in love with. He was really one of the most underrated vocalists in rock, not to mention his style was impeccable. I know he battled substance abuse for years, but it’s still a shock to music.

    • VERY JEALOUS OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THIS HILLARY RALLY, is there some way we can go back in time and you can allow me to live vicariously through you.

    • Where are my pictures?! I really wish we could preview our posts…HINT HINT. Hahaha. Let’s see if this works:

  9. hiiiiiiiiiii guuuuuuuuuuys,

    this week was hella procrastinatey! Even still! I had big plans for this morning that did not come to fruition. yet?

    My holidays are not very holidazey yet, I put up some mistletoe because KISSING, and gf has been in Jamaica for work so we haven’t gotten a tree yet, and mostly this time last year we started planning a wedding and then it was NUTS for like 8 months so this December feels really really easy. Like, I knitted some scarves for my brothers and their girlfriends, great, I bought you exactly the thing you wanted for christmas, awesome, whatever, terrific.

    One upshot is tomorrow I’m going to a crafty swap at my friend’s house where I will trade all these knitted things for handmade pottery and encaustic paintings that my friends have made- I’m excited for that!

    Otherwise, I don’t have really strong feelings about the holidays, I’m just grateful right now that this year feels not SO OVERWHELMING with other people’s expectations. I’ve been getting into making the Mexican hot chocolate with the little discs of kinda dry chocolate and knitting lots.

  10. This is the first year that I have a bit of money and have people I want to get gifts for. It’s super stressful because I want to get everyone really thoughtful handmade or meaningful gifts, but I’m also drowning under the piles and piles of week-before-finals homework. I have the gifts for my girlfriend sorted, but I’m totally freaking out on what to get my family and friends. Adulting during the holigays is way too stressful!!!!

    • there’s enough time! i feel like i remind myself of that a lot. there will be enough time! even if it means crowding all your shopping into one or two hellish days or waiting to do some until the holigays or over or whatever. THERE’S ENOUGH TIME! you’re gonna do okay! your gifts are gonna be everyone’s favorites!

  11. I’ll respond later with a more on topic, holiday related post, but right now I am waiting for a phone call for a phone interview with my dream job. WISH ME LUCK!

  12. I’m more enthusiastic about the holidays now that I get to travel to the US to spend them with my partner and her family – much more fun! But since I live in Spain and they don’t really go overboard on Christmas stuff here, I’m not really in Christmas mode yet.

    In other news, this week I temporarily convinced another two teenage classes that spaghetti grows on trees. This brings my total to seven classes who have been (temporarily, I promise!) convinced of the existence of spaghetti trees.

    (In case you’re wondering, it’s because this video – – appears in their coursebook as an example of a hoax and I the first time I taught this course I couldn’t resist playing along, and now it’s a whole thing at school…)

  13. I’ve been a scrooge the past few years during this time of year, but I think my partner’s love for decorating and holiday movies and lights and hot cocoa has me warming up to it again. I can’t help but smile when I see how excited and happy she gets about xmas music and cheer.

    Our apartment has been decked out in holiday decorations since the weekend after Halloween. It’s really nice to come home from work and sit in a room with a lit up tree and garland and candles and little holiday touches here and there. I even went out of my way to put a yule log on the tv (no actual fireplace for us unfortunately).

    Although I could do without all the extended family drama and rushing from holiday gathering to holiday gathering, I’m digging this holiday season a bit more by spending intentional time with my partner, close friends, and immediate family. :)

    • aw, this is so sweet! i hope your partner knows how very special she is and also how proud santa must be of her. SANTA WOULD BE SO PROUD OF HER.

  14. Earlier this week I stopped in at a queer artists pop-up shop and purchased some cards with prints from an artist to use as my holigay cards! Today’s agenda includes writing them. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve decided this is the year when I become a regular letter writer. My goal is a letter a week.

    Tonight there is a queer dance party with a pajama party theme. What pajamas are good for dancing in?

  15. So, the comment section of this happened this week:

    I’m sorry to bring a downer to people, but its got me feeling rough. I felt nauseus just finding the page again to make a link.

    I identify as a FAAB lesbian genderqueer, for some background on me, not that any of that matters at all. I find myself a little bemused by all the identities that other commenters presumed I had. I suppose the feeling of not being seen has just been another thing balanced on top of this big pile of crap.

    Its been a hard week/ month. I know I’ve only un-lurked on here a few times really, and now I’m dumping all this out, but I just so desperatly want to feel the arms of a community, to put it cheesily.

    My mental health is very squiffy at best, and my illnesses are proving particually hard to deal with this week; theres money problems, I’m trying not to be too much of a burden to my housemate, my Dad who abused me but whom I still have a complicated caring relationship with has been diagnosed with untreatable terminal conditions that me and and my three brothers may have inherited genetic traits for, and my cat is dying.

    I’m not feeling too Christmassy at the moment, but I want to feel kind of festive and get into this and enjoy the season. I’m thinking about how I’d like an alter to look this year. I don’t usually bother to make seasonal alters, but I’m working on ways I can incorporate my own spiritual-ness into stuff around me and more actual routines and practices, in a way I now have more freedom to do after moving out of my folks about a year and a half ago. I’ve been craving more physical focuses and practices for my pantheism/paganism for a long time, and though I’ve been aware of my spiritual feels for as long as I can remember, I’ve often been unsure of what will feel right to me.

    I do have a beautiful wood cut of an oak tree that I might finally get around to hanging up, which I might use to stash presents underneath. I like that idea.

    Also – slightly unrealated – TINSEL. I fucking love tinsel, man. If anything will help me feel festive, tinsel shopping will.

    • As a fellow Geekologie reader who has NEVER read the comments on that site, wow, that is horrifying. I just put in my two cents. Now stay over here at AS where everyone loves and cares for each other until the bad taste from that ridiculousness wears off! <3

    • i would like to ship you a box of tinsel right now, you deserve it. other people suck, and you don’t. always remember that! always! you’re loved and perfect. i promise!

      also, i say make that alter, bring photos of it back here, and let me reward you for your hard work with a zillion puppy gifs.

      • Aw, thank you guys. Just fyi, my homepage is now set for here, as it always should have been. I know where home is x

        I’ll make a point to drag myself out of my usual funk to make that alter. Maybe I’ll look into making a start on it this weekend – I’ll throw some pics up here if I do. I’m feeling pretty successfully bribed by puppy gifs, lol.

        I hope you guys have an awesome weekend x

  16. You holigay monsters. Haha jk ilu. I’m currently on hold to update my medicaid. 27:23 and counting.

    The past week has been really challenging. The past…..really long time has been challenging. I feel like my depression is stepping up again; this isn’t helped by me often missing taking my meds (ooops).

    Then, last Wednesday, my dog bit a son of the next door neighbor. I thought he had missed, but no. They came to our house and my mom answered the door, then she called for my dad. He said their son was wearing a biggish band aid on his leg. Being a mature adult, I naturally had a breakdown while trying to find the papers showing my dog’s vaccination history. I was terrified someone would come take him away and kill him. My mom and brother cried, too. The neighbors took their son to the ER and he got antibiotics, which my dad paid for.

    Then, just this Wednesday, my dog went apeshit when my parents came home from grocery shopping. He kept barking at my dad, and was snarling and growling and snapping. My dad didn’t help; he was angry, he was making eye contact, he screamed at the dog. I took the dog upstairs and had another breakdown.

    So im on edge, definitely. I’ve made an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist; unfortunately they book way in advance, so it’s not until February. But once I submit the paperwork, we get put into the wait list and might be seen earlier. Meanwhile ive gotten some suggestions from the Reactive Dogs fb group. We also went out and bought the dog a muzzle; I still need to train him to wear it. He sometimes tries to chew on it, and I have to tell him that’s not what his catcher’s mask is for. I have to be way better than I have been at reading him and listening to what he’s telling me. People on the fb group have suggested ways to exercise him other than walks, because of the triggers he encounters on them. I tried out really simple nosework last night, involving his nighttime pill and three shoeboxes.

    So im anxious and stressed and depressed. On top of everything, my glasses broke. The frame snapped right next to the bridge; my dad hot glued the frame together for a quick fix. I have an appointment for tonight, but they don’t take my insurance. And the optical people at my insurance don’t do same-day glasses; for them it takes two freaking weeks.

    This also means I can’t go to my volunteer job until I get new glasses. Hopefully they don’t think I’m being lazy.

    Also, the people I’ve been thinking of seeing if I could get a therapist with are moving, so they’ll no longer be in walking distance. Unless I want to walk for about 40 minutes, of course, which technically I could do, but the route is unfamiliar. There is a bus that goes right to their new location, but, still.

    And I haven’t gotten a new therapist bc I suck lmao. At first I was like, “I don’t need one, I’m not that bad.” Then it became, “I really don’t deserve one/I should just deal with it,” even though I know that’s the mindset that got me inpatient in the first place.

    So yeah. I’m so stressed haha. (Also still on hold: 47:26+.) The last thing on my mind is holiday stuff, except where getting things for friends is concerned. Also, I turn 27 on the 25th. I don’t really know how to feel about that, considering my life. And life in general. That all leads down a hole that gets worse and worse the more you think about things and come to realizations and all that. And im tired all the time. There’s been days recently where I’ve literally slept all day, with only brief periods of wakefulness to use the bathroom or take care of my dog. I get mad at myself for that, but then I’m like, really, what’s the point? I might as well sleep all day, every day.

    I’m cheery, I know. :/ sorry guys, life just sucks.

    • Dude, it sounds a bit like you’re crashing cause you’re off your meds.
      1.Make sure you take them religiously for the next couple of weeks.
      2.Get a therapist. You’re getting your dog into counseling, then you can get yourself into counseling,too, come on, do it, and do it now.
      3.Go for at least one longish walk a day with your pup, at least thirty minutes during daylight hours, it’ll do both of you some good.
      If you still want to ponder your life once your neurotransmitters are evened out, feel free to, but right now, it’s them, or rather the lack of them talking.

      • That’s the thing, though, is that even on meds, and taking them regularly, I still have certain thoughts. There’s nothing really that shuts them off. My last therapist seemed at a loss as to how to get me to stop, and I don’t blame her, bc I definitely don’t know what to do to get me to stop.

        Walking is iffy with this guy. It was on a walk that he bit the neighbor’s son. Sometimes he’s ok with walks, other times, he gets really agitated by all the triggers, and he gets closer to going over threshold. That’s the main reason why people suggested things like nosework and puzzles, since there’s no out of the way place to go walking, and we don’t have a fenced in yard. I need to try to exhaust him mentally as well as physically, along with trying to find times to walk when there might not be as many triggers for him.

        But rly I’d rather curl up in a hole rn. I’m v mature.

        • Hi caitlyn! When my roommates dog lived with us and the two dogs together tended to lunge at kids and other dogs, I started walking them both together at 9:00 pm each night (in my quiet neighborhood, which has lots of streetlights but no one else walks then). If your neighborhood is safe, or maybe inviting one of your parents or friends to walk with you, late night walks can be very peaceful and nice because NO ONE else is out!

    • No need to apologize, I hope you get moved up on the waiting list, and that your glasses come in soon and your volunteer place understands that life just happens and that therapy works out for the best, and just that everything turns around for the better real soon.

      • Thank you ; _ ; i’m hopefully getting glasses tonight. Though that means frame shopping, which I’m not fond of. So stressful, deciding what’s going to sit on your face for years. :s

    • CAITLIN! you’re a good human, okay? you’re a very good human. life is hard and you don’t suck and you’re not the worst. i’m really sorry about the puppy troubles and also your glasses – as a puppy mama and someone who lost her glasses once while on vacation and cried about it for a very long time, i understand exactly how anxious these situations must make you, and it sucks that you’re dealing with them. but you’re gonna figure it out! your vet is gonna help you with the dog and you will conquer all just like in a movie and you and your pup will prevail. you’re going to eventually figure out your new frames and a good route to those folks and get on that bus. YOU’RE GONNA MAKE IT!

      side note, you are loved <3

  17. Yesterday I found a snowflake confetti puncher in the supply closet. So I’m now sitting at my desk whiling away Friday afternoon punching snowflake confetti. So.


      next year, snowflake confetti puncher will top my gift guide.

      • I punched a bunch and blew a handful onto my friend’s desk. It caused a bit of an uproar. (But we’re incapable of getting through Friday afternoon without causing SOME kind of uproar.)

  18. I’m ready for classes to be over with! I’m even more excited to buy myself gifts and proclaim that they’re from Santa and not feel bad about it ;)

  19. Help I discovered Hamilton two days ago and I already know it by heart I’m addicted <3.

    Also all the shopping lists on here are great but I still haven't found a single gift for my family urgh.

  20. Oh my goodness goddess me, I am so busy this month!! But in a good way..

    Tonight I’m going to an info session for volunteering to assist Syrian refugees (thank you Trudeau!), tomorrow night meeting friends to watch a boat caroling procession, Sunday my wife and I are hosting a party for our wonderful neighbor’s 95th birthday!!!

    Also, I’m trying out burlesque classes in January!! And loving playing piano in the mornings before work again. Also, now my much loved grandmother has a phone at her assisted living home, I’ve been having great long conversations with her.

    I’m trying to fit in finishing my wife’s gift – I’m making her a fancy cup warmer, because tea is a sacred ritual to her.

    I get 4 days off in a row for Christmas, so I’m incredibly excited about that. I want to read and make yummy food, and have great conversations with friends, and sing together and play games!!!

    Ooohhh and and and make Mexican spiced chocolate egg-nog because that was by far the best thing about last year’s holigays.

    • please post a recipe form mexican spiced chocolate eggnog IMMEDIATELY. also, it sounds like you’re having a pretty happy holigay season, which is awesome! good luck on the cup warmer, your wife is gonna love it i promise!

      • @carmenrios Okay so it barely counts as a recipe –
        Get your favorite spiced Mexican chocolate and if it’s not a powdered hot chocolate version grate really finely. Or grate dark chocolate finely and add cayenne and cinnamon. Add just enough boiling water to make a thick sludge (about 1/2 inch to an inch in the bottom of the mug/cup). Whisk in eggnog.

        OMG it’s like slurping-drinking am amazing pudding – enjoy!!!!

        Please tell me if you try it!! I made in a moment of mad AS inspiration last year, and I am so happy with it!

  21. I am SUPER pumped for Christmas. I was sick when we put our tree which was a disappointment but it looks super beautiful now!! I got nearly all my shopping out of the way, and me and my Cool Queer Crush in Lithuania have been lamenting that our presents to one another probably won’t arrive until the new year. It’ll be worth it though, because I am basically a pro gifter.

    Unrelated, but I’m gonna ask my therapist for a letter for hormones next week! It doesn’t feel real yet I’m so excited!!

  22. This comment thread makes me want to spend the afternoon commenting to y’all at work and maybe I’ll do that, but also…

    If I’m gonna waste time at work I’m gonna do some of the stuff I have planned to figure out for Christmas gifts! Like I want to print a couple of my favorite Kimchi Cuddles comics for my partner and write notes on them and laminate them…. shhhh, don’t tell her.

    Also I am poor this year and have decided to make everyone mixtapes (on CD that is). Which is awesome and I’m pumped but also I am obsessive about making playlists perfect and matching them to the person’s tastes so I’d better get started on these playlists NOW.

    Happy Holigays everyone! You all Straddlers are always my favorite present.

    • claire, you’re so cute. that comics idea is adorable! i will not tell, i promise. also, i bet your mixtapes will be wonderful, just like you and your general presence on this planet. HAPPY HOLIGAYS CLAIRE I LOVE YOU!

  23. I’ve never been so excited for Christmas in my life. I’ve been studying abroad in the Middle East since about June, and been long distance with my fiance, but I’m going home in a week!! So I’m gonna be back in the US at the height of American holiday celebration and I get to be with her (and all my friends and family) again! I also visited Bethlehem while I’ve been here and I have so many more feelings about Christmas than I did before. Basically I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music and crying for at least a week now.

    • yessss! so glad you get to come back at the peak of the season. you deserve it! also, if you need some more uplifting christmas tunes, i highly recommend any and all of our holigay playlists. mostly because i made like, 50 to 80 percent of them AND I LOVE THEM OKAY

  24. Hey friends. I have so many feelings this holigay season, mostly about being lonely and having SAD (I like to call it “the SADs”). I live in NYC, which is a city of strangers, and I feel so lonely. :( I just want to not have to be alone. I wish I could come home from an exciting day living the “dream”, as people seem to say, to a significant other. Is it crazy that I would give up my career and everything for a relationship? I crave human contact. Now that’s a Christmas song…

    • Do you have a pet? I know it’s not the same, but coming home after a day of “living the dream” to a ball of fur who loves you more than life itself can really, really help.

    • i believe there already is a christmas song about this called “all i want for christmas is you” BUT I DIGRESS. i’m sorry winter is being tough to you this year, but also just know that when you get home from living the dream today there’s a bunch of people right here in this very comment thread WAITING TO LOVE YOU.

  25. I think if it’s acceptable, I’d personally rather pass you and your gal pal a holidgay gift bottle(and maybe seasonal tree too). It’s festive, more fun, and when thrown out it went to good use. That said I want to wear the ugly sweaters and stuff, but it’s really never that cold for a thick ugly sweater. Plus, the festive ones I’ve seen related to Hanukkah cost a bit of money, that I’d rather put towards fun. Also, I started seeing Christmas Orchestras playing all over town since the day after thanksgiving. Not even time to let me digest my vegan thanksgiving meal.

    Last Friday I went out with some friends(which include a gay couple). It reminded me why I don’t go out to drink much, specially in West Hollywood, as it cost way too much for me to get drunk(I can really hold my liquor), even after having a glass of wine with dinner, and jager after dinner(plus some concentrates). It also reminds me that explaining what genderqueer and trans are can be a bit tough when the other people are buzzed/drunk. It would be great if there was like an app one just tap and send to another persons phone all the relative information. Like you are pansexual trans woman, or genderfluid lesbian just click all relevant options, bump phones with some to send and bam they have web page open with a clear and concise definitions, and picture of a relevant celeb if there is one. Would really make it easier to explain. Cause some of friends didn’t fully understand it.

    How as everyone’s week been? Good thanksgiving? Good deals? Good food, people, and/or pets?

    Looks like someone’s a big Mario fan.

    And I leave you with this.

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

    • I dunno what happened, but that last picture should have been this. Also there shouldn’t have been a space between the first two images. Can someone fix it please?

      • Agreed! I recently had to explain trans identity to one of my uncles, while tipsy and totally caught off guard. He is not a very tech-savvy guy, but I would rather have been able to swiftly link him to a relevant article than explain it all myself over dinner.

    • aw, wait, i love the photos! also, i would very gladly accept a holiday gift bottle and seasonal tree HOW DID YOU KNOW WHAT I WANTED THIS YEAR.

      my thanksgiving was very full of food, family, love, and dogs, actually. there were so many puppy moments. i even got eli pajamas to match a pair of my pajamas which i think was when i reached peak weird dog person in this waking life.

      also, what did you eat for vegan thanksgiving? v intrigued.

      • Trader Joes had these vegan turkey meals in a box, including a good gravy, that could have been thicker. Oh and of course mash potatoes, and middle eastern rice with carrots.

      • I’d be seriously glad to gift a bottle to any Autostraddle writer(they’d probably have to be local since you know mailing alcohol can be tricky) as a thank you for all their hard work. That two taste chocolate cake shots.

  26. I’m so hyped for this next month- every weekend til new years is something lit.
    This weekend, not only am I seeing Julia Nunes tonight (ayyy), but also am going to this winter festival that has this eggnog tasting competition. too lit yall.
    Then the following weekend is my bday, then following that is my brother’s bday (and him getting home for college), and then christmas comes around, then new years- so basically i have an excuse each weekend to consume large amounts of christmas/holiday related treats.
    I’m so hyped for christmas because my family tradition is just chilling and having ramen noodles after presents. plus im giving my dad a gift that he hasn’t requested of me to get him so it’ll be a nice surprise.
    December is gonna be so lit yall.

    • oh my god i wanna go to the eggnog tasting competition! how do i get to the eggnog tasting competition.

      • lmao its totally dope i would highly recommend attending it. its tonight from 5-8 in hudson, new york

  27. ITS THE HOLIGAYS!! HAPPY HOLIGAYS!!! How is everyone? Did you all do some cyber monday shopping? What about small business Saturday? SoCal never properly feels like winter TBH. I mean yesterday I was really really warm and got to wear shorts. Anyway!! I still really love it when Christmas rolls around though. Hopefully I can find me a tabletop tree for the house.

    It’s officially December!! Time for holiday songs to be played on the radio until it drives me crazy. I mean really though how many holiday songs do we REALLY have.

    I’ve been learning some new songs on the new guitar I got myself on Black Friday because the coupon was really good. I’m VERY MEDIOCRE and manage to get by playing a couple of songs..I have 12 days of christmas and silent night kind of down. And I’ve been refining how to play Dust in the Wind by Kansas because it’s such a classic?? IDK. here’s my guitar. I was on a Yamaha that I bought of my cousin for $50 for like 3 years. So picking up one that’s a bit more branded (I GUESS) sounds like heaven. Plus it’s a mini or a 3/4 of a full sized so it fits me perfectly because I’m fun sized.

    Here’s the X Wing Fighter from the new Star Wars movie. I loved building it. I still have to take a pic of this one and the old one side by side for comparison though.

    Also rare photo of the wife and our boys Jessy Meowington and Andy McFlufferson. Look at Andy already plotting an escape route.

    Also official pic of me from Mustache Dache. JEEZ I LOOK RIDICULOUS. HAHAHAHA

    • @vinzzz27, your posts are always so amazing but this week is literally just the tops. THE TOPS! can we do christmas things together? also, what station is playing nonstop christmas music because i looked for it today and couldn’t find it, i mean, asking for a friend, duh.

      YOU LOOKED SO CUTE AT THE MUSTACHE DACHE ugh nurse viv you are just the best.

        • OMG @vinzzz27 THANK YOU, 103.5 all christmas it is! also, i’m here for two weeks, then gone til the new year. but that means we have a good solid window for eggnog, trees, light sightseeing, etc! LEZ DO THIS.

    • That is a pretty sweet guitar. and I really dig the color. I very much agree with the songs. Just don’t walk downtown without headphones on, it could get to you. I’ve heard three different version of Rudolph just today alone.

  28. I bring you my holigay cat, Gandalf, who wasn’t happy about this outfit:

    And my roommate’s cat, Midget, who wasn’t happy about her hat either. It didn’t fit right but I couldn’t get her to sit still so I could fix it.


    I bring you my holigay cat, Gandalf, who wasn’t happy about this outfit:

    And my roommate’s cat, Midget, who wasn’t happy about her hat either. It didn’t fit right but I couldn’t get her to sit still so I could fix it.

  30. I got a full-time “adult”-job this week!!! And it’s doing exactly what I want to be doing right now (working with kiddos who are/have been abused/neglected). It’s been a great first week :)

    The downsides of no longer being unemployed include having to wake up at 5:30am, not getting home until 6pm, and not being able to read autostraddle as much!!! I am going to use this weekend to catch up on all the posts I have missed this week.

    • OH MY GOD YAY CAMILLE!!!! also, we’ll miss you but i think we’ll understand. have fun getting caught up!

      • Thanks Carmen! My bus commute is going to become my autostraddle reading time now that I’ve got my route figured out and such.

  31. I’m Jewish and have never decorated for Christmas before, but this girl I just started dating and I are going to go shopping for Christmas decorations tomorrow and decorate her apartment! I’m very excited. We’re going to put stockings up and lights and ornaments on a tree…
    And last night we went to the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago and drank hot spiced wine out of mugs shaped like little boots and walked around looking at all the stands full of German food and gifts.

    I started dating this girl a little over a month ago now and I still don’t know whether I want her to be my girlfriend or not and I’ve been stressing about it a little, but I do really love doing all this cute stuff with her!

    • gahd I want to go to a German Christmas market on a date that’s the goddamn best.

      also, if it feels right, it’ll feel right, in the meantime, yay cute dates!

    • oh my god i went to a christkindl randomly when i was on a trip to denver last year and it was AMAZING! i’m so glad you got to enjoy one, seriously such a top notch holigay experience.

  32. I mean I’ve been having up and down days lately and dreaming of people I’m not with any more again. Also been advising my best male couple on their relationship-been together and not and I wish they’d decide which. I’m kinda finding it hard to balance a-level work and moping around in my pyjamas.

    I did order people’s Christmas/Solstice/it’s effing cold presents though and one of my best friends has apparently got me ‘ lots of gay things’ which makes me happy. She knows me so well. Ordered a Studio Ghibli CD for my dad too which is good.

    • i hope soon the up days outnumber the rest! no need to wish the same for the gay gifts because those could only be amazing.

  33. I’m really excited for Hanukah tomorrow! I’ve been stressed lately, so this will hopefully be a bit of a break. I still need to wrap gifts for my mom, though. I’m luckily young enough that I still look forward to presents and seeing what I’ve gotten (apparently many people want less for the holidays as they get older?).

    I’m also going to put up Christmas decorations with my dad today! We have a bright orange fake tree. It’s awesome. (I celebrate both because family.)

    • By any chance do you like that show Orange is the New Black? If not it’s okay, but the actress Samira Wiley is adorable like a jolly holly holiday elf and her beaming face would look great on your tree.
      Just saying.

  34. So I’ve had a pretty shitty week. I started having pain in my right side on Wednesday. Thursday I visited my doctor who thought that it miiiight be appendicitis but since I didn’t have a fever, it could just be constipation. I took the laxatives but continued to feel pain in my right side, but since knew it DEF wasn’t constipation and I was starting to get chills, I went to the ER at 3 am Friday morning. I spent about 12 hours in the ER getting poked and prodded and had all sorts of tests (transvaginal ultrasounds are NO FUN GUYS). The results were: no cysts on the ovaries, my uterus looks normal, and my appendix doesn’t technically look swollen but it’s on the larger end of normal, so if I get a fever to come back.

    So now I feel like garbage due to a completely fucked sleep schedule, pretty serious nausea (which I got a prescription for, which is great except the prescription leaves me dizzy and drowsy and gives me a headache, but at least I am allowed to eat+can keep stuff down), still in pain (which I also got a prescription for but I don’t want to take percoset because serious pain meds make me feel terrible/inhuman), weak from close to 2 days of eating zero things, and with no clue what is actually wrong with me.

  35. I had what I thought was going to be a second date tonight, but I’m fairly certain my partner in said endeavor did not see it that way. I don’t even think it was a ‘let’s see how this goes’ thing. And that’s fine, but I was kind of excited about bringing date energy and BEING ON A DATE. Womp womp. No such luck.

  36. I’m a big shipper of Jane and Patterson on “Blindspot”, so let me mention this:
    jaimiealexander We often cuddle to keep warm lol @ashleythejohnson #blindspot ?

  37. Caaaarmen have you ever heard of cake mix cookies?

    They’re the lazy Murrican way to make something the consistency of madeleines with none of the class. There’s no precise recipe my noggin has of them just um look at the regular cake instructions of the cake mix box and use less eggs and less liquids.
    I mention it because white or vanilla cake pick up colours quite beautifully and even if they get a bit too golden in the baking process.
    Red, green, blue and you could just use chocolate cake….ta da most the American holiday colours.
    Use gel based dyes and kapow brights fucking holiday cookies evar.
    But if you want to go full holigays you need to know how many bowls you have before choosing how many colours you’re going to have a rainbow of. Because each colour needs it’s own bowl.

    Cookies have been the thing that get me excited about the holiday since I started baking and cooking. Even though I have the skill I always get a boxed mix for my gingerbread cookies which is weird tradition of mine. I usually do a thin glaze and sprinkle coloured sugar on top them, but have experimented with drizzling thick glaze in red or green before.
    If y’all ever wondered how to drizzle, the trick is a whisk.

    The 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe I posted in the Thanksgiving Open Thread I’ve been making that for the people in my life with gluten issues as holiday gift for years now. And bring it to parties. To make them festive I roll small cookies and press a red or green M&M in the center. End result is a perfect bite of peanut butter and chocolate.

    New tradition:
    Drinking creme de menthe straight with a reese’s mini between sips.
    I’ll probably feel like explaining on Christmas or as it approaches.

  38. I just got home from a 36+ hour date that involved coloring, baking cookies, listening to Christmas radio full blast, getting and decorating her Christmas tree, looking at pictures of adoptable dogs on the internet while reassuring her dog that we’re not giving her up, and sleeping a lot. And now I’m home making soy candles in recyclable receptacles while listening to The Cranberries pandora station. #holiGAYs.

  39. I was super excited about baking holiday cookies and starting to decorate this weekend but I have had DoomHeadcoldofDoom. I haven’t been able to do a dang thing other than cough sneeze and whimper. BUT! I have started on my third annual HarryPotter-inspired Christmas playlists. Two of them are looking pretty good, probably three more to go, and I can do that while sneezing, so am trying to get Christmas-y in spite of feeling bleh. I still really really want to start baking. OH! And I have my first office holiday party of my life next weekend! Have never worked for people who do that before, it’s a strange new world.

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