Queer ye, queer ye! It’s that special time of year that really runs the gamut of emotions. As stressful as they are joyful, the holidays — or Holigays, as we like to call them around these parts — sure are wild. Here at Autostraddle, we’re hoping to at least take a little bit of the pressure off and also hopefully inspire some small joys even if this time of year is tough and overwhelming for you. Need help deciding what to get someone on your list? Take a look at the wide range of things we’re personally wishing for! Or even buy yourself a damn gift if you want. We all deserve something a little nice this time of year.
Autostraddle writers, editors, and senior team members have a whole bunch of different interests — from gaming to books to cooking to gardening to traveling to beauty and beyond. But we have one important thing in common when we’re engaging in the things we love: We’re queer as fuck while we’re doing it. So a gift guide doesn’t get much gayer than this one, assembled by a bright and beautiful team of LGBTQ+ cuties. And when you shop using a lot of the links below, you’re also giving the bonus gift of support for queer indie media, as we get small kickbacks from any brands we have affiliate programs with. Double up on your support by contributing to the A+ membership pool so that someone can sign up for A+ this holiday season who otherwise can’t afford to. And don’t forget: If you’re already an A+ member, you get exclusive discounts from brands who are part of the A+ Discount Marketplace, another great place to look for gifts!
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Managing Editor
Nothing says “I’ve been watching a lot of Chef’s Table” quite like this list I’ve put together! One area where I’ve really been lacking on my ongoing home chef journey is when it comes to plating. It’s always an afterthought for me! But this year, I’ve been getting really into doing tasting menus at home (if you follow me on Instagram, you’re well aware), and I want to take my plating to the next level with this garnish kit and set of tweezer-tongs. I also imagine these tools will come in handy when it comes to my ongoing mixology journey, especially when paired with the smoking gun which I will absolutely be using to make smoked old fashioneds. Every time a friend learns I do not own an air fryer, they are simply shocked, so it’s time to fix that. And I am forever a member of the Fishwife fan club (A+ members get a Fishwife discount!) and need to soak in the flavors of these limited edition releases before they’re gone forever. The fish mat for my kitchen will really cement my brand as a Fish Bitch tbh.
Meg Jones Wall, Writer
These are all either new versions of things that I already have and love (Negative Underwear’s Whipped line is the softest, most ridiculously comfortable fabric I own, and I want to be able to wrap myself head to toe in this shit; Riddle Oil Original smells like a dream on me, to the point that even noted tastemaker and icon Cora Harrington comments on it multiple times when we’re together) or have been lusting after for a long time, as FARIS makes so many pieces I want that I had trouble choosing. I’m continuing my trend of investing in things that make me feel hot and cozy, and I regret nothing.
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer + Editor
A couple of weeks ago I wheeled up to the vet in my usual way: My cat Dobby hollering to beat the band, inside his little carrier bag, on top of his favorite blanket, inside my Costco shopping cart. It’s always been the best way to take my cats on their 13-block walk to see their doctor. I’ve tried Ubers and it’s like sitting in some strangers’ backseat with a demon wailing inside the bag in your lap. Anyway, so Dobby’s just a-squaling! And this whole other lady rolls up with a CAT STROLLER! Her cat, Edmund, is sitting inside looking around, all calm curiosity, not screaming. Apparently Edmund used to be a shouter too, but the stroller has given him a sense of comfort, security, and superiority! He likes going for rides now! I would love to give my cats that same gift, their birthright, everything the light touches. The other things on my list are simply cozy human luxuries.
Abeni Jones, Contributor
I’m finally in a financial place where I can “buy it for life” instead of buying fast fashion, and I’m finally starting to figure out my personal style 10 years into my transition. So … I bought some overalls from REI earlier this year, and they may have changed my life? I bought a pair from Gap too, to compare, and now I’m looking at Dovetail (part of the A+ Discount Marketplace!). I’d like to compare all three and then decide who is going to get a lot of my business.
I also bought a pair of classic Doc Martens like two years ago, and they are finally broken in. I want more! Now I know more about the brand, however, I feel like I should spring for the Made in England ones, because they’re slightly higher quality and I plan to own them for life — but they’re about $100 more. Probably couldn’t spring for those myself, but I wouldn’t turn down a gift…
Finally, I’ve long wanted a Pendleton blanket, but wanted to get one made by actual Native folks, not “Native Inspired.” I’ve heard great things about Eighth Generation, and I love this particular one, designed by a Two-Spirit artist, because I love crows!
Julie Gentile, Writer
As someone with a little bit of an impulsive buying streak, I made it a goal at the start of 2022 to tone it down a bit and just wait for the time of year where people willingly get me things that I want. Also as a Capricorn with an early January birthday, my loved ones are always asking for a slightly longer list from me so they can get both occasions out of the way at once. When it does come time to make a list, it’s usually filled with a mix of things that I just want and things that I could see myself using on a daily basis. I do really want that DedCool laundry detergent — my partner bought us a sample of the Red Dakota scent, and now want everything I wear and sleep on/in to smell the same. This year I also really want a new vase I can light my special herbs in and a professional gua sha for all my skincare aspirations — maybe used in tandem, who’s to say?
Ro White, Sex & Dating Editor
Two of my goals for the coming year are: 1. Read more than I scroll, and 2. Figure out what the hell to do with my ridiculously thick, cowlicky helmet hair.
The best way to get myself to read more is to lean into my favorite genre: outdoor adventure stories. I gobbled up Blair Braverman’s memoir Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube in 2016, and I was already excited to read her latest novel. That excitement SKYROCKETED after I read Darcy’s recent interview with the author. As long as I’m indulging in outdoor adventure stories, I should probably smell like a campfire, right? I’ve never tried solid cologne, but when I read the description of The Badlands Solid Cologne by Outlaw (“It’s a pocket full of long shadows, sleepy campfire, and night sounds all around you”), I was sold.
I’ve been trying some new hair products since I grew out my buzzcut, but my guy Kevin Murphy is calling me back. I used this clay a few years ago. It smells amazing and defines my waves, so I’m hoping it’ll help me look more like a person and less like a mushroom.
Shelli Nicole, Culture Editor
I think I am actually fairly easy to shop for. Receiving gifts isn’t how I really receive love BUT I know for some folks in my life it’s how they show it, and it makes them happy which, well — makes me happy! Having an oracle deck to work alongside my tarot has been really lovely in rounding out my readings. I already have one that I’ve had for a while that I love, but this one being specifically around pleasure—something important in my life — feels like it would be extra special! I love watching films and I love being in my apartment, and in the colder months wouldn’t it be great to cozy up with a crossword on the couch and some yummy cocoa filled with way too many marshmallows?! I think so too and I want this one from A24 but it has been sold out forever…but you never know they may bring it back for the holigays! And lastly, a SUPER 8 IN WORKING CONDITION! I’ve been looking for one for years and almost had my hand on one but it was a no go. But to capture moments with family, friends, and my love using a Super 8 has always been a dream…maybe this year it will come true. I like film, witchy vibes, and making memories and these three things cover them all!
Sally Neate, Writer
I do struggle to find things that I want to be gifted because I have an aversion to “stuff” so I tend towards practical things, or consumable things, or anything that can’t create clutter.
My wife and I haven’t quite found the perfect artwork for our bedroom yet (though we’ve recently settled on the theme of “nudes with plants”) but I know I absolutely need some Maxine Gregson prints in my life (ideally all of them). She has several that have a cool retro computing surreal thing going on that I would love for my office/junk room.
My search for the perfect pan is never ending, but I think I’m making some headway. I am keen to avoid non-stick coatings, but not yet sold on cast iron, so I’m looking at stainless steel, ideally a high-sided sauté pan that is also oven-safe.
I cannot think of a third thing so I’m going to instead shamelessly promote my wife’s shop. Look at these amazing lesbian bookplates! Fortunately she already gave me a bunch of misprinted ones so I don’t have to covet them longingly.
Drew Burnett Gregory, Writer
Okay so this is the first year I’ve only listed three items instead of six. But the fact is most of my wants right now are really big. Things like airfare, a car, a one bedroom apartment, a super 16 film camera. Unfortunately, I’m not at a place in life to get those big things and that’s okay. I’ll keep dreaming and in the meantime let my little wants be few.
My first item is obviously the new edition of House of Psychotic Women, Kier-La Janisse’s landmark women in horror text. I’ve never read it and yet it already acted as a guide when Kayla and I were putting together the queer horror list. Next is a collection of Lorraine Hansberry’s posthumously published plays. I tend to get really fixated on artists and give myself my own little course on them. Earlier in the year that fixation was Paul Newman and right now it’s Lorraine Hansberry. And finally just some new concealer. I’m almost out and I need to look pretty while dreaming about the future.
Stef Rubino, Writer
I’m not great at buying larger ticket ($50+) items for myself throughout the year because of money ~feelings~, and I kind of always disappoint the people in my life by asking them for a bunch of books every Christmas. So, I’m trying something different this year and just going for it. I’ve been eyeing ice cream makers for a while, and this one keeps popping up on “Best of” lists. I already have a ton of plans for it — there is a peanut butter and banana ice cream with a salted caramel ribbon and chocolate cookie pieces in my future for sure. Famously, I’m a New Balance guy now, and I’ve been getting the urge to branch out into their other models. This pair of 57/40s seems like a good first step out of my 237 obsession. I love the combination in the colorway, and I have a lot of shirts that go perfectly with them. This last one is just kind of a silly, fun thing…I collect vintage glassware and would love to get my hands on some branded Italian amaro glasses. Cynar is my favorite amaro, so I think that’s a good place to start. Plus, look how cool that little artichoke art is.
Nico Hall, A+ & Fundraising Director
First of all, I need new work gloves and there’s no better time to take advantage of the 20% discount A+ members get from Dovetail Workwear than just before the season during which I promised my girlfriend I would help her take down the rest of the wood paneling. (That season is winter, alas.) Also, while we’ve been doing house projects and gardening and (and fundraising) and running around all summer and fall, my cooking has seriously reduced in variety and quality. This Holiday Triple Threat kit from A+ Marketplace partners, Fly By Jing sounds like it will 1000% fix my problem and oh am I ready for at least one of my problems to have an easy solve. Finally, when early spring rolls around, I’ll be hitting the woods in our tent, and maybe I want to be a little bit indulgent and not just wear hiking boots the WHOLE TIME I’m among the trees with my 30-something-year-old feet getting all tired, and in fact, maybe I want to slip on these cute indoor/outdoor slipper booties by REI when I’m just cozying up to my girlfriend around the fire. I also don’t have regular slippers, so would probably wear these around the house for all these winter months. Finally, while I have a huge TBR pile, I’ve had my eye on these two graphic novels for some time, and it is an incredibly satisfying thing to finish a graphic novel over the course of 1-2 cozy winter days, a welcome respite from this theory I’ve told myself I’ll get through. Finally, IT REMAINS SPOOKY SEASON and will not cease being Spooky Season until Three Kings Day on January 6 (the official end of the 12 Days of Christmas). And so, when the days are at their darkest, it would truly be a delight to try a paranormal investigative toy I’ve always wanted to get my hands on — a spirit box. Do I need the built-in flashlight or EVP recorder? Probably not, but I do appreciate that they’re there, just like I appreciate that I’m never really, truly alone in my house.
ashni , Writer
I redid my closet recently for the first time in like, a decade and discovered that most of the things in there were decidedly… not me. Things that do feel like me? Silk robes and Carhartt tees (I contain multitudes). The bodysuit is not just any bodysuit, but a flesh-toned sheer bodysuit with snakes on it! IMO it would be a gift for me, but also anyone who gets to see me in it. I don’t really switch out my bags – I’m still using the same crossbody from 2017, but I think that bag is on its last legs (the hardware is starting to tarnish and it just looks kind of sad). I want a Polène to replace it but haven’t been able to justify the cost so if someone wanted to buy me one… I would not say no!!
Also, of course there are food things on here! I ran out of Kashmiri chillis recently, and subbing in other peppers just hasn’t worked as well. As for the ocean vinegar, why would I not want something called ocean vinegar?
Casey , Contributor
I do indeed want books as usual this holiday season, but this year I’m shaking it up by asking for cookbooks! I’ve borrowed all three of these cookbooks from the library (some multiple times!) and that’s how I know I need to own them, because they are that good. Being on parental leave has really made me lean into domesticity and cooking/baking has been a big part of that. I highly recommend all three of these. Continuing with this kitchen theme, one of the “grownup” items I’ve never owned that I would love is a bunch of cloth napkins. I found some in burgundy, my favorite color! And a mini whisk might seem silly but it would be great for mixing small bowls of sauces and salad dressings, plus it is very cute! Okay I realize the last item on my list – dovetail overalls – doesn’t fit with the rest of my wish list, but wouldn’t I look cute cooking in them?
Riese , CEO
This is what I am looking to do with my life: have fresh white socks on hand, elevate my jigsaw puzzling to whatever level this apparently mysterious and unusual jigsaw puzzle promises me, bask in the glow of a beautifully-scented and aesthetically pleasing candle, smell great all the time, have footwear to slip in and out of when I take my tiny dog on medium walks and, finally, to own a copy of a book I already read and loved but do not own in print and would like to!
Em Win, Writer
When I first created this list, everything was easily over $100 dollars. I have a lot of middle-range, multi-step asks like getting a professional boudoir photoshoot or installing the perfect hanging hammock chair that I may not even be able to hang depending on the integrity of our apartment complex ceiling. Even this edited list is somewhat pricey! A girl can always dream.
The literal dog, Rowdy, is a corgi I would love to adopt. Even though it’s a slightly ridiculous thing to put on a Christmas list, a dog is the thing I want most. I promise you this won’t be happening, so my more reasonable idea is to collect items for the inspiration gallery wall I’d like to create behind my desk. So far I’m aiming to find prints of Lizzo, Zendaya, Megan Markle, and Selena Gomez. The idea behind this are celebrities or highly influential people whose representation, music, and/or advocacy around body image, racism, sexism, colorism, and/or mental health have gotten me through some tough times. While it’s tempting to put the Loki poster up on the inspiration wall, at the end of the day a white man doesn’t deserve to be on this wall of absolute goddesses, so this overly-priced yet highly desirable print would go in our already Star Wars/Marvel themed TV/couch area.
Valerie Anne, Writer
Well, as it turns out, I am a huge nerdy nerd. I just want to cuddle up in my D&D-themed pajamas with my purple space Nintendo Switch and be a cozy gamer. (Not necessarily always in the literal sense. I do like “cozy games” like Animal Crossing, but I also like to be cozy when playing other games, too.) And I had simply never considered until recently that my Switch doesn’t have to be the red and blue color it came with?? I can purple-fy it like I purple-fy almost everything I own (including my gaming chair) so I can be surrounded by my favorite color while I play my favorite games. And speaking of games, I love D&D and have so much D&D gear but I have lately been considering trying my hand at DMing and while I imagine a lot of the games I run will be virtual, it would be cool to have a unique DM screen for if/when I ever lead a game in person. (I wanted this same dragon pattern but in purple, alas it only comes in blue. But ice dragons are badass so I’ll allow it.)
Anya Richkind, Director of Brand Partnerships
The truth is, my favorite gift to receive is a surprise gift — I have a hard time thinking of things I want just for fun. But these are three things I would love to have! Firstly, the Astro Planner from Chani. I love planners, and feel like I try a new system every other year or so. I like exploring how to compartmentalize time, the thing that ultimately can’t be compartmentalized at all! This planner is gorgeous, pastel, dreamy — and organized! I love it. The book is one that Nico just recommended, after I provided very specific parameters (sci-fi, not centered on romance, not extremely sad) so I simply must read that. And finally, I would take just about anything from Lazy Oaf, especially if it’s from their Happy Sad collection. I already have a pair of Happy Sad socks from them (thank you, Jess!!!) but I would love to, in an ideal world, only wear these socks and a choice other few.
Natalie , Writer
2023 is the year that I finally try my hand at baking. I’ve never been particularly good at it — and certainly don’t think my skills warrant investing in a $300 KitchenAid (yet) — but the Frigidaire feels like a good, relatively inexpensive, safe starting place. Hopefully Deb Perelman’s new Smitten Kitchen cookbook has got some good recipes to get me going. And while I haven’t used them for baking before, I swear by the Nordic Ware Half Sheets for roasting so I’ll need a few more of those to support my new hobby.
On the entertainment side, I always need new headphones and the Soundcore A1s are quality enough to give good sound but cheap enough that if (read: when) I lose them, I won’t feel too bad. My Forever First Lady has just dropped her new book so I’m looking forward to reading it and being inspired. And I’m definitely getting the Javicia Leslie seasons of Batwoman on Blu-Ray. I know, I know…“who buys DVDs anymore?”…but HBO Max is out here acting a fool and I will not be left without my Ryan Wilder fix.
Carmen Phillips, Editor-in-Chief
This is actually a big departure for me! Usually when the Autostraddle Team Gift Guide comes rolling around I’m exhausted (it’s the end of the year) and I pick out pajamas, new moisturizer, and call it a day. And don’t get me wrong, the flannel robe that I asked for in last year’s gift guide is still one of my most used items, but this year I’m finally craving being out of the house.
This oversized plaid Madewell coat has been stalking my Instagram for months and sure it might be a little light for a Detroit winter, but with climate change who knows! Also speaking of Madewell, I have wanted that double necklace with the Cuban link chain and the Onyx pendant forever. A white tee with Maya Angelou silkscreened and a green bag embossed with Protect Black People across the front? C’mon now!! The Nikes are sort of a cheat (I already own a pair) but they are so comfortable once they’re broken in, and I get so many compliments on them every time I go out, that I really do want a second.
Because I am still me, perpetually without sleep and with too much work in a day without enough hours, I’ve been really drawn to Tricia Hersey’s Rest Is Resistance, which came out last month. I am unlearning a lot of internalized lessons about Black women and over-productivity, so the message of Hersey’s “nap ministry” could not be more perfectly timed. It’s the #1 read I’m looking forward to sitting with and doing absolutely nothing this holigay season.
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
I am a simple woman. I want slutty festive underwear. This particular set was advertised to me on Instagram and unfortunately the algorithm really has me figured out. I’m pretty sure I’m a 3X on top and 2X on the bottom, just in case my girlfriend reads this and is like “oh I should definitely buy this for Vanessa to wear for me.” I desperately want this wild new vibrator that an anonymous reviewer on this very website sold me on. And I want candles, I always want so many candles, bury me in candles, and wow, candles made by a Black-owned small business and themed around my favorite pop culture witches?!?! I mean, I don’t need to tell you how perfect these are. You know.
viv , Art Director
I am focusing here on elevating sensual pleasures, sounds and smells in the home. Every day is another day against the elements and the harshness of the world’s events and I wish to return to a dwelling that soothes me on a chemical, molecular level. No doubt this is the wishlist of a recent nicotine vape-quitter. I have use reed sticks to diffuse eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, and tea tree essential oils and they’re the most consistent scent diffusers without using flame or electricity. And isn’t that incense diffuser so cute? My favorite incense scent is Opium. And after scents comes music, since I’ve lost my old UE Boom somewhere in my travels this year. They’re better designed compared to main competitor JBL and come in many fun colors, although I’ve decided speakers are one of the items that should disappear in a room. The Megaboom is also built like a tank and I’d welcome another bludgeon in my repertoire.