OPEN THREAD: Get In Here and Spend Christmakwanzakah With a Bunch of Queermos

feature image via lobster and swan

Happy holigays, y’all, and welcome to the 7th Annual Christmakwanzakah Open Thread! This is my favorite holigay tradition, in which all the queers in queerville gather to sing songs and talk shit together at Autostraddle dot com. It grows my heart three sizes every year, which I haven’t yet discussed with my doctor. BUT ANYWAY. It’s time for us to get weird together in the spirit of the season, so let’s have at it!

Also, can I just say that this is an actual thing where Mey lives. It's true. May we all some day find our Pocatello.

This port-a-potty tree is an actual thing where Mey lives. May we all some day find our Pocatello. Also, Geneva calls port-a-potties outhouses. I just wanted you to know.

I’ve been home with my mom for a week now preparing for Christmas and basically using the holigay season to put off doing stuff I’d like to get wrapped up (get it) before 2016, like writing about ten things I never wrote and also making a plan for the next year of my life. But that’s cool! It’s the holigays, and I’ve got like 70 cookies to bake and all of Geneva’s presents are wrapped and only slightly brushed in dog hair and I’m trying to figure out how to get Eli’s stocking holder to be stable enough to hold on to all of his new treats. Who has time for everything else? Especially when all the houses outside are lit up and all the ornaments inside are so shiny!

In my last bid to distract myself from the obligations of my everyday life, I will be spending the weekend checking back here on your family gossip, sending you GIFs of holiday cookies, and crossing my fingers that you stopped in to share pie recipes and pictures of your pets in sweaters while I was hanging stockings, putting away what is now a sad and pitiful forever stamp collection, overusing the Santa emoji, and also trying to start a fight with Stef every morning like the big man would himself.

I also sincerely hope that you all will indulge me this year in what is formerly known as the holigay poll but has been renamed this year as the Festivus Poll (get it). This year’s topic is a hot-button issue in my heart, and I hope you answer me honestly because at Christmas, we tell the truth. Thank you in advance for helping me dress my dog.

Festivus Poll: Which Holigay Outfit Suits Eli the Most?


Okay, vegan cream puffs!  Now that this stuff is out of the way, let us get weird together!

I wanna hear about how good the food is at Christmas dinner, whether or not you’ve seen Star Wars, how many times your holigay season became Racist Uncle Season, and which shitty holiday episodes of various sitcoms you’ve been watching this year. (Or maybe that one’s just me.) I’m also intrigued by the intricacies of your everyday life, so feel free to regale me with very un-festive but still magnificently wonderful tales of girlfriends and final exams, gal pals and DIY projects, old flames and new adventures. I’m 100% here for it all.


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

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. It’s over 70 degrees in New York City this Christmas Eve/Erev Christmas. I’m not wearing pants, jamming to Hamilton in my therapist’s waiting room. Then I’m going to see Sisters with my sister and hopefully eat Chinese food. Merry Jewmas!

  2. In Louisiana, it’s going to reach 80 degrees on christmas, which i personally am happy about. My family and i are going to the christmas eve service at our church then eating mexican food, as is our yearly tradition.

  3. I have no idea what the temperature is’s just hot . I’m spending Christmas with my mom, which is cool. I just scored some cool shirts at the thrift store, and I just got a job so I love being able to get people presents.

    • yes! i went all-out on gifts last year because i was “gainfully employed,” it made everything so wonderful. happy mama christmas, i hope it is wonderful! also, can you send pics of your thrift store scores perchance. asking for a friend.

  4. It is 17 degrees celcius in Toronto right now. I am wearing a leather jacket and a t-shirt. It’s nuts. Climate change will destroy us all.

    In happier news, I’m about to head out to brunch, and then from brunch, my sister, my best friend and I are going to see the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Musical – Kinky Boots! I’m pretty excited. And then dinner, and drinks, and then tomorrow, double feature Christmas day! The best kind of Jewish Christmas.

  5. Merry Christmakwanzakah Carmen and Eli and Straddlers! Thank you for being here! I hope you all have wonderful holidays filled with all the good things. Eli in all three of those pics is a gift to my puppy-loving heart.

    Here’s my science version of an ugly Christmas sweater heheh. It’s a pic of an agar plate with a cyanobacterium ‘tree’ growing on it, and I overlaid it with a picture taken through the microscope of cells of the same bacterium showing its natural red fluorescence at 100x magnification. Synechocystis is looking pretty festive!

  6. Most of my family members are pretty liberal and Christmas is a blast but I went out to dinner with my grandmother last night and conversation only centered around two topics

    1. The ‘oriental’ male roommate I have (discussion of why this is racist did not go anywhere) and how apparently I live with guys because when I lived with girls we were catty and fought every day (this literally did not happen. I still talk to my roommates from undergrad at least once a day)

    2. I live in a rural area where my grandmother saw a bear once, so she doesn’t want me driving home alone for Christmas because black bears kill people all the time?


    • Black bears don’t kill people on a regular basis, but they can be dangerous. If hungry enough, a black bear might attack a person. They also might if the person angered them, and a mother will definitely attack if you approach her cubs. While I was living in the Vail, CO area, I was walking through the Beaver Creek resort area one summer when a black bear came up the stairs ten feet in front of me and calmly walked into a sporting goods shop. Someone from Animal Control came up after the bear, saw where I was staring and said “The bear didn’t go in there, did they?” A few seconds later, having done absolutely nothing, the bear calmly walked back out. I also worked at a restaurant up in that resort and we had a mama and cubs wander by one night and we had to block our customers from leaving because they all wanted pictures with the cubs (ignorant of what the mother would do to them).

    • Kayley – The drive home to see my parents is a 90 minute trip down a pretty lonely highway. No bear threat, but plenty of kangaroos/snakes/wallabies/lizards, particularly at dusk and sunset.

      My pro tips are:
      1. Ring the person you’re going to see as you’re leaving your driveway.

      2. Podcasts! This is my Butcher-Esposito listening time (Put Your Hands Together) in particular, but anything that will help you relax/get carried away are great.

      3. Have an emergency kit in your car. Torch, blanket, snacks, first aid kit and spare water.

      4. Always immediately call your contact person if there’s something wrong. Even if you feel a bit edgy and just need to talk.

      Drive safe!

  7. This year my partner and I refused to fly 3,000 miles during the most annoying travel time of the year to spend time with people who drive us crazy, so INSTEAD we are going to sleep until whenever we want tomorrow and then help our dog unwrap all the sweaters we got him so he can try them on and be lovingly photographed and fawned over.

    Happy Holidays!

  8. I’m kind of worried about Christmas because my older family members always talk about my future in the context of either academic success (yay!) or marriage to a man (boo!). Despite being very lots bisexual, I have some past trauma concerning men, which, while it doesn’t fully inform my sexuality, means that I’m probably going to end up with a lady.
    Anyway, I do have some techniques for helping with a super duper heteronormative fam during the holigays.

    1. Pretend you are a secret agent infiltrating your family and have to pretend to be their straight or cis family member. Agent Rainbow, over!

    2. Avoid your family altogether! Not exactly a long-term solution, but hanging out with cats is a perfectly valid way to spend the holigays.

    3. Comments like I mentioned above are sometimes a good springboard for coming out! However, be warned that coming out during the holigays is sometimes not such a good idea. You have to tolerate your family for the rest of the day, even if they hate you now.

    4. Use whatever support system you have. This is important. If there’s anyone you have who you can contact over the holigays who a) you’ve come out to or b) is cool with giving you support for extremely vague reasons, call them, text them, Skype them, anything. Just make sure that you don’t feel isolated in your own family. That’s very, very bad.

    If anyone has anything to add, please do reply to me with some. These are just my current coping mechanisms, but I’d love to know more. Stay safe and have fun!

    • I am not out to my family and my best friend is only recently out. We play this game on holidays where we try to say the gayest thing possible without actually talking about our sexuality.

      The previous winning statement was at a dinner party at my house. My best friend was looking in a kitchen drawer for a spoon to serve a salad and he stopped, looked directly at me and (within earshot of my brother) said “Isn’t there anything in this house that can toss a salad?”

  9. i haven’t seen star wars yet and the friends i’m supposed to see it with tomorrow are being REAL JERKS about it cos they both already have.

    i’ll be spending christmas eve at the strip club, with respect and love and holiday cheer and hopefully some candy canes.

    • I hope you enjoy Star Wars! I headcanoned like 3 main characters as somewhat queer already but they probably won’t end up that way :(

  10. I’m pretty much of a Scrooge, winter-holiday-wise. My house empties out for two weeks (both my parents and my kid go elsewhere for the break), which is kind of nice for the first few days, but gets a little lonely after that. This year, I’m doing much, much better about making sure that I spend time with other people, so yay me! I’ll go to the Christmas Eve service at my super-inclusive church this evening, but that’s about the only concession I make to the business.

    The Great Global Climate Hoax is in full force here, with unseasonably warm temps (around 60F), and a really dramatic (and completely unseasonable, in case I hadn’t emphasized that) thunderstorm last night.

    I went out last night with some new (to me) people last night. I can’t quite put my finger on why, exactly, but I came away from it feeling a little unsettled. Maybe it was that Lemondrop shot that I really should have taken a pass on … The only long-lasting damage is that I seem to have misplaced my specs. I know I had them on when I got back to the house (since I can’t drive without them), but now, twelve hours later, I can’t for the life of me figure out where they are. ‘Tis a puzzlement. So maybe I’ll be attending the Christmas Eve service in my prescription Ray-Bans tonight!

    Tomorrow I’m going to go see Carol at the first opportunity, followed by a second viewing of the new Star Wars ( which I loved) with a pal. (Presuming I find my glasses, I mean.)

    • i hope you find your glasses! i also hope you’re filled with a warm sense of being loved and special, which you are. happy holigays!

      • Yeah, I found my glasses. (WTH were they doing on the floor under the foot of my bed? IDK.) Church was good. Very glad for my gal-pal who’s going to hang with me tomorrow. It’s all good now :-)

        • I once was stuck in a three full day Neurology lecture with my prescription Ray Bans and on my third day of people asking dumb questions I just gave up and wore my bright pink “Sexiest in the City” T-Shirt.
          Misplacing your glasses is the worst, glad you recovered them!

          • “When You’re Cool (The Sun Shines All The Time)” and “My Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)” also come to mind.

  11. I’m working from home today, so javascript, and html, and css, oh my!

    Single mom fun- I’ll be fighting crowds at Target later to spend the gift card my auntie gave me for my kids, then eating chinese food, then wrapping. Thennnnn hopefully cuddling with this really cute girl by the fire, sipping spiked hot chocolate and listening to Motown Christmas songs.

    I’m really happy that my new place has a fireplace. And that on my fireplace’s mantle are holigay cards from my new Autostraddle family. I love you all- this is the first time I ever received Christmas cards and it felt so warm and fuzzy and great.

    • oh my god it’s mine! oh my god i have never felt more loved and appreciated. your mantle is so beautiful! i hope you have a wonderful christmas eve and an even better christmas day with the kiddos! and also, please stay safe at target. it’s a whirlwind out there.

      • Likewise- have a fun time baking all of those cookies! LOL sounds like such a task. And yes, it’s yours! They were such gorgeous cards- thank you all, seriously. They made my heart happy!

    • Side note- I just realized how rude it is to give someone a gift card intended for Christmas shopping 2 days before Christmas. I’m really dreading going out today…I’d rather be baking and singing carols.

    • so sweet! I hope you and your kids have an awesome time and you have excellent hot chocolate + snuggles!

  12. Does anyone else have “One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas” stuck in their heads or is that just me? And it’s almost 70 degrees in St. Louis too. Wtf.

    I have one package I need to send, and I’m still trying to sort out what to get one other friend because I don’t see her very often and she has so much stuff (and also she lives all the way down in Texas). Anyone have any suggestions for a video game loving lady???

    • Grew up in St. Louis and spending the holidays there, weird weather and all.
      Send my love to the city. <3

    • i don’t know a lot about video games but i love the little wii u statues that they make now that are, i believe, also games? this is probably the worst recommendation ever, but. THEY’RE SO CUTE.

    • It would depend on what’s she got already and what she likes.
      Does she like a good story? Having to use her brain to solve problems? Classic games fitted for modern systems? Blowing stuff up with minimal story? Hates military style stuff? Likes fantasy over sci-fi?

      Oh and her game system too of course.

  13. My girlfriend just returned from four months studying abroad across the sea and i get to see her in a week soooo this holiday season is pretty rockin. Tomorrow I’m siked for star wars and gift giving and cake :D

      • So this is totally irrelevant but i wanted to comment that it’s real neat how my name could be pronounced gill…like the things fish have (it’s not but go with me here) and you’re name is fish. We match! How cool! Happy holidays!! ?

    • @vinzzz27 you are truly my hero. HAPPY HOLIGAYS, and let’s hang out when i’m back in LA okay? i haven’t seen anyone since i moved! i might as well not live there! AND I MISS YOUR FACE / GENERAL EXISTENCE IN THIS REALM. also, again, you’re a hero. i hope work is at least sometimes filled with cheer!

      • @carmenrios YES YES AND YES. Work should be fine really. It’s a potluck sort of. All I know is I’m bringing lasagna and my mom volunteered macaroni salad. Also I bought some beer because tomorrow when I get out everyone on my dad’s side will not be at the restaurant having the holiday party anymore so I’ll be ♫ all by myself ♪ probs. SO BEER HERE I COME.

        • yesssss once i am back in town i will reach out! also, you light up my life and truly lit up this thread all xxxmas so.

  14. I did friendsmas a couple days ago and made out like a bandit!! I got a bunch of much-needed art supplies for work, and like four pairs of socks! It was actually incredibly thoughtful because I’m tiny and anemic and my feet are constantly feeling the cold embrace of death.

    I’m gonna be going to an NYE party that my ex will also be attending, which seems to be a queer rite-of-passage. My first ever girlfriend, like, from high school. I really hope she’s seeing someone though, because she always tries to pounce on me if she isn’t.

    • oh my god i love a good pair of socks. ARE THEY WOOL. ARE THEY ALOE-LINED. DO THEY HAVE CUTE SHAPES ON THEM. tres jeal.

  15. I’m on holidays in Vienna for Christmas, which is mostly lovely, but a bit lonely. I think I’ll read fanfic and scroll tumblr, and maybe write on the giftfics I was supposed to be posting, if I have the muse for it. Thanks for this thread, and Happy Holigays!! Xxx

  16. My partner and I are spending the night at her parents’ house (which is less than 30 minutes away from us), plus most of tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it- in past years, I’ve had a lot of the responsibility for making Christmas happen, and it’ll be nice to just be able to sit back and enjoy this time around.

    We’re also continuing our tradition of doing an “alternative Christmas stocking stuffing” on Christmas Eve, which how we exchange gifts that the rest of our families probably really would rather not see.

    Still haven’t seen Star Wars yet. Soon, though.

  17. Star Wars was incredibly satisfying, which is all I will say on that subject, to avoid spoilering anyone. But yes, see it if you haven’t. I’ll be seeing it for the second time in January with one of my best friends, and I’m already crazy excited about it!!

    Otherwise, spending the day by seeing my best friend and enjoying the fresh snowfall outside! It never snows on Christmas Eve/Christmas and I will be enjoying every last flake of it this year.


      and then i will come back freaking out and we can all indulge in our spoiler-y feelings about it. can you at least tell me if chewie gets lots of screen time. this matters to me.

    • I really enjoyed it STAR WARS. Like for someone who isn’t super duper geeky about it but has seen all the movies in the last like 10/15 years of their life…I super liked it. I think having a bit of background helps like appreciate it more. I mean it could as a stand alone but IDK how I feel about you seeing the ending and like not knowing you know.

  18. I stayed up last night so I could finish designing/illustrating the recipe booklet I’m giving to my extended family for Christmas, and finished seeing my girlfriend a stocking with her new name on it – it’s her first holiday with my family, and the first time she’s visited me while being out as trans, so that’s exciting and I am very relieved at how positive my family’s reactions have been so far.

    I’m also in charge of making a huge pot of soup for dinner tonight. I feel like such an adult.


      someone who does NOT feel like an adult but made some good cookies with mom today so

  19. Just watched Carol all by myself in this 70 degree NYC “winter” weather and have no one to join me in my shouting at the screen. Oh mylanta! This movie was the slowest burn I’ve seen since subtext. Also, my cat refuses to hang out with me while I’m studying for my nursing school entrance exam. Still in my pjs. Happy Thursday.

    • I went with a gay friend my first time around and kept jabbing my elbow into his side,shoving his shoulder excitedly, but mostly biting my lip to keep from shouting.
      You know what he said after the movie?
      “I really need to get that soundtrack.”
      I went again, by myself,the next night.

    • y’know, the winter here on the east coast is, at times, warmer than the weather had been in los angeles or at least it feels that way and it breaks my heart because WARM WINTER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY THING! like, i was supposed to be able to call home like “oh, okay, it’s like 70 here” in a valley girl voice and in my head just hear myself yelling “THE DREAM IS REAL” and now, like, ugh, i just can’t, it’s a bummer. that’s all. thank you for listening. i hope your screen and you are still on good terms!

  20. Happy Holidays! I got a Holigay card from Carmen so I’m pretty much set!

    I went to a high school friend’s Christmas party last night (which I never do) and I had a really great time! I was moreorless out in high school and especially for an all girls’ Catholic school, they’re really good about it. I’m 98% sure they were/are more accepting of it than I ever was. Also I’m not a fan of pictures usually, but I was okay with them last night (cause I missed everyone so much!) even though what I’ve seen has convinced me to start working out like every day for the rest of my life. I had a really good time and am planning on seeing them all pretty soon, which never happens.

    We’re staying home tomorrow, with no one coming over (which we’ve never done before, we usually host Christmas) and so I’m prepared for it to be a little weird. I haven’t felt Christmas-y at all, which is disappointing but not really surprising. So I’m just gonna read and write and spend more money on books, I’m excited!

    Hope you’re all well!

  21. Tomorrow is my birthday :)

    I bought a ton of presents for people and im excited for them to get them. There’s still a bunch of stuff to be done downstairs, but I overslept in order to get some decent sleep, and now mom is sleeping (our sleeping schedules are fucked up), and I feel blobby and it’s way too warm out. And gross bc it’s wet and humid.

    My dog tried to eat festive string, which woke me up.

    Also one night I put him in his Christmas sweater; the next morning he had somehow found his way out of it. Houdini reincarnated? You decide.

    Yesterday I finally was able to use busses to get myself to where I needed to be :) it was a long day, and very wet (my shoes got soggy), but I met a lot of interesting people who were very nice, and I made it home ok, and I didn’t throw up on the 44 home when my stomach suddenly was like, “this is a thing that’s happening now.” Yay :) and my pupper was super excited to see me. I know I shouldn’t encourage his jumping, but he was so excited and trying to lick me and it made me feel so happy ; u ;


    I’m at my mom’s house in upstate NY and it’s near 70 degrees here! But I have not heard my mother use my preferred pronouns even once since coming out to her as a non-binary trans person in the spring. Everytime I email her reminding her how important it i to me she says of course she’ll do it. She pointed out how nice my pronoun button is. But she has never used the correct pronouns, and it puts a real damper on my mood :'(

    Oh well, at least there are lots of cookies here, and beer and wine that was bought with not-my-money.

    • People not using my correct pronouns always lowers my mood too. I’m sorry you’re going through that. :( I hope the cookies and booze help!

    • perhaps make her cookies in the shape of letters, and you could use those letters to spell out your pronouns, sure, but you could also use them to write a simple letter to the tune of “hello just a casual reminder about my pronouns you never use.”

  23. Here in the UK it’s only 3 hours until Christmas, but it kind of doesn’t feel like it. I’ve been away at uni since September (I’m first year so this is all new) and I’ve been back home less than a week. Yes, we did a bunch of Christmas hype in my uni halls but it feels completely different now. Maybe I’m just getting old. (I very recently turned nineteen – and have heard the Tegan and Sara song an awful lot!)

    On a more positive note, I survived my first family do since coming out to everyone without a hitch, and it hasn’t been mentioned at work either, which is fine by me.

    I hope everyone has a lovely Christmakwanzakah, is able to be themselves in some capacity, whether in real life or just here online, and has someone to tell them they’re awesome. If not, have it from me: You’re awesome :-)

  24. I’m shopping with my mom, who doesn’t know I’m gay and I’m considering throwing some boxers into the trolley. Idek.. I mean, small steps, right?

    • as someone who has literally been there, done this, i have two things to say:

      1. yes you should do this because you DESERVE THOSE BOXERS
      2. but don’t expect your mom to read anything into it, or at least my mom wouldn’t have, for god’s sake i took the woman to the MENSWEAR SECTION and it was still a total surprise. JUST SAYING.

      and happy holigays!

      • You were right. I totally got my boxers, and she grouched about how I needed to get over my fear of “ladies underwear” already, but I don’t think she read anything into it. I dressed head to toe in guys clothes this holiday, – there was even a tie situation – and I can tell my cousin’s know, but no one’s telling her anything. Phew.

  25. ugh. the holidays. feeling v v grinchy this year. hoping eloise at christmastime and the fraiser christmas episodes (best sitcom christmas episodes) will help.

    • It’s OK to feel grinchy. It’s your Christmas, you can cry if you want to. You’re allowed to feel your feelings in autostraddlelandia. But, if you do want to feel better, I hope you do. Sending you happy vibes.

  26. rocking out to The Wiz with my family and gazing upon our collection of black Santas/Kwanzaa ornaments. A magical multicultural Merry Christmas and Kwanzaa


    This week a bunch of our friends gave us Christmas cookies and one friend sent lokum (turkish delight) from Berlin because I posted some article that was like remember how incredible turkish delight sounded until you had it and realized it was no good at all, and she sent some of the real stuff I guess? And it was delicious.

    Girlfriend is making chocolate mousse, I got my hair cut which included a side-undercut and it looks real gay, we’re gonna go to my mom’s house for diner tonight and then come home and watch Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Xmas Special and sing old folks songs because gay, and then early xmas day at my mom’s house and then later on to her family.

    Girlfriend got sad that I didn’t take it upon myself to buy her family xmas gifts separate from her, so I bought them at the bougie salon I was at, so I have like, felt viking christmas ornaments for her dad and sparkly candles for her mom, but I think it’ll be fine. I was like BABE I CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT CHRISTMAS. I WILL DO BETTER NEXT YEAR.

    Also I wrote a blog, if you want!

    Also we might go to an open house this weekend at our neighborhood mosque because I emailed them and was like “Hi, people are shitty these days, can we make you cookies or raise money for you guys or something?” and they were like,”That’s so nice! Come to our open house!” which I think will be nice.

    And I read this book ‘Bright Lines’ this week which is AWESOME.

    Hope things are easy and light for everybody here, and if you have to go into a hideyhole that you get to come out later and feel seen and held and like you get to show up with all your different parts. xoxoxoxo.

  28. Guys, autostraddle is the best. You guys work so hard, and my life is a bajillion times better because you exist. If I won the lottery, I’d probably give it to autostraddle. Before this Christmas, you guys we’re pretty much the only people I could do Christmas with. This year I came out to my brother, get a girlfriend and lost said girlfriend, but got a roomie instead, got a best friend who knows I’m gay, and I’m slowly becoming my truest me. It stated with you guys. Also, I’m pretty sure you guys are some sort of secret archangel rescue squad. . .
    Anyway, thanks for being awesome guys.

  29. So I made Alaina’s jollof rice recipe and added shredded chicken last night. Because suddenly the fam is having a get together and like many Christmas Eves previously the menu is pig meat, which I do not consume.
    Rather eat bread and pray for a bacon-less veggie dish or rush to eat a meal before going I decide to make something and bring it.
    That’s right I AM BRINGING IT.
    This aptly describes the transitional point of my life when I think about it; trying to be an adult with agency rather than a kid that accepts suffering because I don’t fit by using my skills not to fit, but to fly.

    Cause I’ve never even made jambalaya from complete scratch on a stove before and boom made a relative that’s more complicated in my perspective cause wow much liquid.
    I used a fancy ass clever chef move to cut seed and plinth from the red pepper in one fell swoop, mostly.
    Didn’t have curry powder and have never eaten anything with curry in my life so spent the night before learning about garam masala and madras. Used a spice mix of mine that uses some of the same ingredients oftenly those curries and that someone thought was curry.
    I used my wits, my skills, previous experiences and I flew.
    Majestic like an eagle I flew. xD

    Andddd I typed that all up at around 4am, does it show?
    I think it shows.

    This day last year was an actual funeral it was biting cold and this year it possibly a record warmth but I’m going to possibly wearing tie. Unlike at the funeral which I didn’t cause I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself. It didn’t matter what I wore I’m me and therefore always a spectacle.

    Wish me patience y’all, not luck.

    • Wait, jollof rice is a thing other cultures do? I’m Nigerian, and I always assumed it was a west African thing. Cool beans!!

      • Eh I dunno, but there are various rice dishes that are relatives to jollof rice and jamabalaya ( a part of my waning culture) is one of them.

        I was raised in flavour, seek flavour so jollof is something I’d do, something my grandmother would eat and ask if I’m going to make it again because clearly tomato speaks to her soul the same what it does me.

        Another West Africa (specifically Nigeria) has that is similar to Louisiana cuisine is the little meat pies. Cool beans indeed.


      would it be mature to tattoo this on my face

      • If one has to ask if something is appropriate then it is probably not.
        This is a thing I have learned after much time.

    • “This aptly describes the transitional point of my life when I think about it; trying to be an adult with agency rather than a kid that accepts suffering because I don’t fit by using my skills not to fit, but to fly.”

      Oh Lex. You just summed up my 2016. Thankyou for the beautiful words.

      Wishing you patience with the family.

  30. It’s Christmas Day here, so merry Christmas to all those who celebrate – and a very happy Thursday/Friday (depending where you are) to those who don’t.

    It’s going to be 35C (95F) here today, so no white Christmas for me – not surprising given it’s summer.

    And a big thank you to the AS team of incredible writers who do such a great job of entertaining/informing/challenging all of us all year long. You guys are incredible.

    • HAPPY WARM DAY! and also, we love you madly to the moon and back, so. all of us, that is. like, all of us on the team? am i being coherent. I HOPE SO!


  31. I’m a musician, so today is chock full of FIVE (count ’em…five) Xmas Eve church service gigs until 1am. Gah. Being non-religious these days, it’s pretty taxing to sit through…but the good part is that I’ve decided to go out with a bang and never play church services after tonight. That part feels great.

    And then the rest of the week is off and spent in peace and quiet with my wife, at my dad’s place. Caaaaaan’t wait for tomorrow!

    • i believe very deeply in doing things you’re not gonna do anymore so much you eventually tire of them and then feel almost no pangs of guilt / regret / sadness when they’re no longer part of your life, so. FUN FACT!

  32. This is legit one of my fave open threads of the year!

    This year I’m feeling a bit down about Christmas, so I’ve decided to celebrate Bun-mas instead. It means marathoning videos of rabbits wearing santa hats, digging open their gifts, etc.

    So Hoppy Bun-mas, Straddlers!

  33. Happy Holigays, everyone.

    I came out to my mom on this past Sunday. Suffice it to say, things didn’t go great but they didn’t go bad either. Our relationship is complicated enough as it is, and now this. (long story short – my mom is in denial).

    So, it will be interesting to see how she will interact with me now and or if she’s told anyone else in our family. Kinda sorta dreading it. I’m suppose to head out in a bit (was suppose to actually be there at 4pm to help prep tamales and also make my own vegan batch)…..but I’m sitting here, sharing with you all and sipping my coffee very slowly haha.

    Thanks for being here, and allowing people like me to talk about these things. <3

    • Hey you, I’m sending you strength and courage and hope that all of your issues fall away for a night and you get to spend some peaceful and enjoyable time with your fam.
      Things will get less awkward with time. It doesn’t need to be perfect today.

    • <3 <3 <3 Good for you! I hope it feels like living into your truth, even if it is hard right now. I hope those tamales turned out great and that it was only 75% as awkward and uncomfortable as you dreaded it would be. :)

    • Congrats – very courageous. Wishing you the best with your mom. I’m still not out to my parents, so I know how scary it can be.

    • i love you, jp! it’s gonna be okay. as someone who eventually triumphed over Awkward Gay Stuff Mountain with her mother in tow, i send you a million encouraging thoughts, a zillion hugs, and also some of the cookies i just made to eat your feelings because oh my god this recipe rendered seventy cookies. SEVENTY!

    • YAY!! Also I hope things will find their way into their own right places. I personally think that coming out during the holidays is great. LIKE IDK WHY. But super duper props to you!!! Happy holigays!!


      You should listen to Ally Hills’s “Coming Out Song”. It’s my butterbeer.

      You came out, that’s so great. You’re great. We’re all great!!!

    • JP I would listen to you talk about all the things all day.

      I hope that everything went as swimmingly as possible, and that the vegan tamales turned out ok. Would love the recipe and an update if you’re up to it.

  34. I made a vegetarian Christmas Dinner for a friend who drove over today, and no kidding, only slept three hours, because I was obsessing about whether to get extra portobello mushrooms instead of the bucketload of organic brown mushrooms I had already procured(This, children, is how exciting life gets after 30.)
    Then, while I was whipping up the dessert to refrigerate, my friend told me how it always stresses her out that her mom makes her eat so much, so I quietly crossed two courses off the list.*sigh*
    What worked really well as a vegetarian option main course was the mushrooms with some red onion (sliced, not chopped) sauteed in red wine, with arugola and coarsely chopped pecorino, if anyone wants to know.I added gnocchi in melted butter to that which was quick and easy and delicious.
    Well, I really need to either have family over next year, or go see my mom.
    If I get to obsess that much about food, it should at least be worth the while.
    On that note, I will hopefully have hungry friends over the rest of the week, because, well.
    I did research and buy a lot of food.
    And no, I didn’t even get the extra mushrooms, but still.

    P.S.I went for a walk today in a sweater(I actually meant to go running), and saw a rose garden in full bloom.
    It was 9 degrees celsius, the coldest it has been all month, and if you care to know how far up North I live:The sun sets around 4pm in winter.
    I have no love for the cold, but this is freaking scary.
    New Years resolution:Cut down and compensate all of the CO2. And also:Plant some trees.

    • may i please come to your house for vegetarian christmas sometime? it can be casual. i’ll bring vegan shortbread cookies.

    • +1 to the Christmas dinner if you’re taking reservations?

      I discovered a really amazing freekah salad recipe this year that I think you’d like. –>

      It’s perfectly okay to obsess about food at this time of year! I think it speaks a lot about how much you love the people around you, that you take so much care to make things they’ll enjoy.

      Today we cut our traditional Christmas cake. My Mum used to make it, but it’s been handed to me now. Well, this year I spent a whole day finding the perfect recipe. Then I hand chopped (with scissors) each piece of fruit into 4 bits. Yes, every sultana, currant, raisin, cherry etc. All 1 kilogram of it. Then it soaked for 3 days in the fridge. Finally another day was spent mixing and cooking it. Then it was stored and lovingly had alcohol brushed on it every week for 4 months. Admittedly, I was late doing it this year.

      Tasted it today for the first time – totally ah-maz-ing. Totally worth it.

      *fist bump* I get it!

      • That is amazing!
        And trust me, I totally am appreciative of that effort for the art that food can be!
        Thanks for the freekah salad recipe, I just might try the roasted almonds variation!
        Btw, the entree last night was batavia salad with avocado, roasted pine seeds and breaded and fried tiny goat cheese rounds.That was very delish, but I’ll pair that with a cranberry/balsamico variation in the future, instead of just balsamico/oil.
        You’re very welcome at my table, any time, just be ready for at least five full meals during festive events;-)

        • I was literally shaking this morning as I put the finishing touches on my and mine’s (first) xmas meal! I just wanted it to be perfect! fist bump as it all turned out delish with no room for worrying at all. Merry merry!

          • Congratulations!!On the first Xmas meal together and on its perfection, although I strongly suspect that your person would have loved it either way;-)
            There’s nothing quite like cooking for someone you’re in love with, except, maybe, cooking for a special occasion:-)
            Have a good rest- Happy Holidays!

  35. Greetings from Sunny, but cold Sothern California.

    I feel like this is become the rhetoric of the republican party.

    I don’t thin I will be doing the traditional Jewish family meal of Chinese food with my family(don’t think we ever did). I am going to my aunts house, but we’re probably going to have middle eastern food, including rice. So, there is always that.

    How’s everyone’s week going? My friend last Saturday threw a birthday party for his husband in the gayborhood, and it was nice. I may have had a little to many drinks, paired with a light dinner, and many tastes of my friend Mary Jane. I may or may not have been one of those loud queers being queer in front friends of my friend. I feel a little guilty for being an inebriated. At least I was quiet when I came home, so there is that.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend! And merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it!

    • being a loud queer means never saying you’re sorry, al. i bet it was endearing! also, i always love your photos – but especially that skid row xmas one. it captures so much. happy holigays! <3

  36. I wish it was warmer here in Colorado though =/! This is one of the best Christmas ever because my girlfriend gave me such great gifts

    My girlfriend and i

    • real talk, this video bummed me out because mama was kissing santa clause, and instead of getting away with it until the morning, like the women in the song always do (the kid must be hiding, right, like i never interpreted it otherwise, the kid sneaks a peek, is permanently changed, runs away), THEY MAKE A SANDWICH! like, two women, in what could be a cute romantic video, MAKE A SANDWICH. i just couldn’t get over it.

      I DON’T WANT TO BE A NEGATIVE NANCY but i had to live my truths.

    • Oh, this made my day, and it’s Christmas, too!
      I actually had to laugh so hard, because it was such a parenting moment.
      Merry Christmas!

  37. Conversation between my cousin and her kid.

    Kid: What’s the KKK?

    Cousin: The Kkk is the Klu Klux Klan, they’re a hate group.

    Kid: Why?

    Cousin: Exactly.

    kid: Thats silly. *goes off to eat cake *

  38. Okay can I just start out by saying how cool autostraddlers are?

    A few days ago, I went to a Seattle Holigay meet up, and everyone was so lovely! Laid-back, nonjudgmental, easy to talk to. We played bananagrams (similar to scrabble, but faster-paced) and shared delicious food. Normally I find it awkward to make small talk to people I don’t know well, but it all felt very comfortable.

    (Side note: my computer does not think autostraddlers and holigay are words. I beg to differ.)

    Anyway, my plans for tomorrow are very low-key. I’ve never spent the holidays with more than a few people, usually my parents and brother. I’ll drive over tomorrow to visit them in the house I grew up. I told them I didn’t really want to do much in terms of gifts. There isn’t much planned, just hanging out. I like it this way, low stress.

    I hope everyone else has a peaceful weekend!

    • oh! I would come play bananagrams! whenever people are like “we will go to cafe mox and play games” to me this means stuff like king of tokyo and complicated stuff like settlers of catan and I just stay home rather than try new things, because I am a weenie who likes stuff like apples to apples and bananagrams and like, cards against humanity with a ‘problematic’ discard pile. ok. next time I will come.

      • Cards Against Humanity – yes, yes, yes. This year my friends and I had a “Christmas Cards Against Humanity” – with home made pho, cocktails and…I can’t remember the dessert because I had a wee bit too much espresso martini. FUN TIMES ALL AROUND.

        I also HATE small talk. So give me a game, any game and I will be instantly sociable and probably become very loud.

  39. This year I got the best Christmas present I can even imagine: A FULL TIME JOB! I interviewed for my dream job yesterday and they offered me the job. They even told me I was the answer to their prayers because the position was posted for a long time and they have not found anyone they liked until they met me. The people interviewing me even hugged me on the way out.

    I’ve been working 60+ hours a week since I graduated from college five years ago and I’ve had so many interviews and filled out hundreds of job applications. I’ve been one paycheck away from losing everything for five years now. This new job is offering me excellent pay and full benefits. I’m going to be making more money than I’ve ever dreamed about having…not that I’m suddenly going to be a millionaire or anything, but I’m absolutely amazed that I’m going to be able to afford to do things like go to the dentist.

    The terrifying part is that I’m going to have to move out of the city I’ve lived my entire life to a place 2 hours away, where I don’t really know anyone. I’m also really terrified at the logistics of moving because, like I said before, I’ve been paid basically nothing for the past 5 years and I have no savings. I have no idea how I will pay for things like a moving truck and deposits.

    So if any of you have any experience moving with virtually no money, give me all of your advice! Also, if there’s anyone out there from the Columbus Ohio area, please give me advice on where I should move! I’m trying to find somewhere in north Columbus or a suburb. I’ve lived in Akron my entire life and have no idea where to start looking for a place.

    I am just so completely overwhelmed because I cannot believe that in 2016 I might get some kind of financial security, and doing a job I love at that. I know that money isn’t everything, but having a little bit of money is going to change my entire life. This time next year I’m going to be typing here saying that it is the first holiday season I got to enjoy without standing behind a cash register asking people if they want something gift wrapped.

    Also, I saw Star Wars. It’s awesome. I’m patiently waiting for Disney to come through and start making Rey dolls, because I would buy all of them.

    Happy Holidays :)

    • I’m not sure if this would be a thing if the job location is <200 mi away from where you live now, but you could ask your future employer if they offer any relocation assistance?
      Otherwise, uh, well my personal experience involved getting rid of a lot of furniture and whatnot and then sleeping on the floor (in a sleeping bag) for the first three months of living in my new town. Probably not the answer you were looking for, but it worked for me?

    • Hmm unfortunately no advice but I’ll be doing the same thing once I get a job in the city I want to move to…so good luck and hope it goes well!!


      That’s wonderful. Oh I am so excited for you.

      In terms of moving my advice would be to:
      1. Make three piles. Donate/give away, keep or trash.
      2. If it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it.

      Do you have a car? If so, think about how many trips you’d be prepared to do. It’s more hassle logistically, but should be cheaper (maybe) than hiring a company to help you move.

      Also ask your new place if they can help with moving. The worst they can say is no!

      Happy Holidays Colleen. You’re going to rock it!

    • Yaaass! On moving without money:Rent a car/Truck situation and rope in some friends to help you move.
      Like, all the friends.Also ask around if anyone owns a truck, or bigger car, so you might get around the rental fare,even.
      Maybe you can even get away with having a few friends pile everything into their cars.
      Make sure to keep your friends fed and hydrated and well coffeinated, though!
      Sandwiches, water,and sodas are the keys to a good communal moving experience.
      Maybe put everything into storage at first,(or a friend’s garage), before worrying about moving all of your stuff for hundreds of miles on zero budget and stay in a shared apartment (or even a seedy hostel) the first couple of months, until you’re all settled and saved some money up for deposits.
      You can do this, now it’s just down to logistics!
      Congrats and Merry Christmas!

    • I live in a suburb of north Columbus! Clintonville is a nice place to live, there are affordable apartments and its a cute, safe area with a very liberal, hippy, and queer vibe. Also it is great for getting around the city since it is between 315 and 71. There is also Upper Arlington, which has some more affordable apartments on the outskirts but inside is like, super rich. Kindof boring but safe. There is also Worthington, which is about the same. The nice thing about Columbus is I think the freeway system is pretty effective, and you can get anywhere without much hassle as long as its not rush hour. The bus system is not good. If you have any questions about Columbus I’d definitely try to help you, feel free to send me a pm. :)

    • I have, several times moved without a car or a truck, or anyone really helping.

      A few questions to ask yourself:

      Can I afford a hostel/air bnb until the first paycheck? (or until you can afford a deposit on a place) [if you travel back and stay with friends on weekends you can save on those nights]

      Can I leave any of my things with friends until I can afford a moving truck?

      Is short term storage of furniture cheaper than a moving truck? (until I can afford the moving truck)

      Can I move anything (suitcases etc) on a train or other public transport? (no joke one time I was so poor I moved via tram, bed frame, matress, everything. One painful trip at a time.)

      Do any of my friends have a grandma/Aunt etc living in the new city who would be happy to do a room and board situation for the first month or so. [Maybe some chores in exchange for a lower rate]

      Can I sell things I’m not taking? (if every dollar counts)

      Even if they can’t store things for me, can any of my friends feed me dinner or let me do laundry at their place while all my things are packed/sold so I don’t have to spend on take out etc?

      Bon Courage!

    • Sadly I have no useful advice, but congratulations on the job! Sounds like you’ve been working really hard and it’s finally paid off. I hope it’s everything you’ve dreamed about and more

    • Straight Reader:”Oh, Angie will appear in Peggy’s dream to give her advice.”
      Lesbian/Queer Reader:”A Dream Sequence!! Angie will confront Peggy about her suppressed Love for her and they will at least kiss steamily!!!”

  40. Happy holigays, all!

    This past weekend, I dragged my parents to NYC (first time we’ve ever been) to see Fun Home after months of telling them about it incessantly. So far, the deepest comments from them have been “oh, I didn’t realize that was a true story,” and “the character of Joan was funny.” If anyone here has seen Fun Home and would care to discuss, I would greatly appreciate the chance to process it on a bit deeper level :)

    • Katie I saw it and it made me cry at several points. My favorite song was “Ring of Keys.” I think there’s a new actress now (?), but Sydney Lucas was incredible. Such an expressive face and voice!

      Also Joan was really hot.

      • Yes, I cried too! But not as much as I expected.. pretty much about the fact that I was there. I stupidly read nearly everything the Internet has to offer on Fun Home and listened to the soundtrack a bunch beforehand so essentially knew what to expect plot-wise. But to see it in person was phenomenal. We saw a bunch of the actors walking in before and then after chatted briefly with Beth Malone and Michael Cerveris which was mind-blowing.

        The fact that Fun Home exists, made it to Broadway, won for Best Musical, etc etc strikes me as super significant. A musical about a butch lesbian coming out, especially played by an out actress, to me is f&$&*g badass.

        I’m bummed I missed out on seeing Sydney Lucas, but Gabriella Pizzolo was wonderful. And I agree, Joan was hot! I am totally awkward college-age Alison so I was all about it.

        Thanks for indulging me!

        • Ooh, how exciting that you got to chat afterwards!

          I avoided reading about it beforehand, so I didn’t know all that much. I don’t think it was stupid to go in knowing about it, though! Sounds like you still had a pretty fabulous time. :)

  41. HAPPY HOLIGAYS TO ALL. Extra Happy Holigays to the AS staff for being so rad and giving us this bloody awesome place to read and learn and talk and all of the things.

    Most of Christmas Day has past in Australia. It’s 35/95 degrees in Melbourne. I drank too many mimosas at breakfast and had to take a nap. Can’t wait for roast dinner and then pavlova (if you’ve never eaten this, you are missing out!!) for dessert.

    Eli is SOOOOO cute in his Christmas outfits. It was very hard to narrow it down to one, but I voted for the Reindeer lewk.

    Yesterday I baked up a storm and watched most of the Christmas Friends episodes and all of the Nanny Christmas episodes. The Nanny animated Christmas episode is my favourite tv Christmas episode. I have no idea why. It’s not that great really, but for an inexplicable reason, I love it.

    • I have been watching the eli poll for days and i have found the changing tides of opinion very interesting so thank you
      for elaborating on it! also THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE AND LOVING US!

  42. I’m having a meh week. A dysphoric kind of mood triggered by not fitting into the family box. However, my bow tie was awesome!

  43. Hey all!! Back!! ANyway just wishing everyone again a Happy Holigays!!! My mom and I were just watching the Santa Tracker thing on Google for like 20 minutes. MAN THAT DUDE CAN DELIVER LOL. He was in the Philippines earlier. I think he’s in the Midwest right now?? GO SANTA GO.

    Here’s my Holigays card for you all

    JK This was at my cousin’s daughter’s baptism and the opportunity was WAYYYYY too good to pass up and not take a selfie.

    This is Andy McFlufferson’s Holiday card for you Straddlers. Notice all the attention. I really think he knows his name by now.

    The packages of my Metal Earth collection. When I started I really thought I could hold onto the packages, complete them all and take pictures. 109 (official count as of 2 days ago) models later I don’t think I can keep up with their release rate and I’m literally running out of space!! But I’m still going to make them! =) I did keep the Titanic one though (lower right) because it was the first one I ever made.

    • Vinz, I was reading this thread and earlier I honestly thought – what? that’s it? That’s her whole post? Whoah- and now I’m here and look at you!

      Firstly please thank Andy McFlufferson for the card. It was wonderful.

      Secondly – you’ve made the models, yeah? And these are just the cases? Because that is quite a hoard, either way. I am in awe of your dexterity. *don’t ask about my yarn stash*.

      • Awww <3333 hahaha. It was cause I was at work. Yup I kept the packaging of the ones I completed. Theres I think 2 I didnt keep? I had to redo them halfway through because instructions were vague and I messed up the pieces. Lol.

        Yarn stash!?

  44. Christmas is here!!!
    I saw this really cute human downtown today. They had pretty blue hair. I told them so, and they said they liked my style, so yay!!

    Bae has steam burns from working at the deli. Idek how to help :(

    My mom doesn’t know I got her anything. It was really sad, cus she wrapped her own present. Man, will she be surprised tomorrow! Best feeling ever!

    But I feel kinda scared cus I got her shoes.. they weren’t name brand or anything..they were all I could afford, and she walks to work and doesn’t have winter shoes..My mom wears size 13 in women’s so it’s hard to find her feet. (I’m 15, so it’s impossible-ish)
    I don’t want to disappoint her. I wish i could give her the world, but all I have is shoes I ordered from amazon..

    I got my cousin? (what is the proper term for your cousins kid?) a book for christmas. Her brother doesn’t like reading so I didn’t get him one. I hope he isn’t mad.

    I got myself two books. Feeling happy cus I love the smell of books, but guilty cus I could have bought someone else something, or donated it..or something..

    It’s Christmas!

    My dad can’t travel to where I am cus his boss decided he was gonna take a month off, a week before my dad was meant to leave. :/

    Seriously, how do I help steam burns?

    There’s gonna be a have a heart day in January in my area!

    I turned 20 this year, (on the 15th) I feel super old/super scared about not being a teenager anymore. I should be adulting by now, but I don’t know how to adult.

    I’m regretting choosing to emigrate to US instead of UK.. I could have seen the HP play.

    Autostraddle is kinda like my diary. I’m still not convinced you guys just don’t live in my computer.

    Happy Holidays.

    • Jay, any burn should be treated with cold running water, continuously, for at least 10 mins. Do not apply any type of cream or ointment, no matter how tempted you are. If bae can’t stand the running water then a cold towel, soaked in cold water and wrung out so it’s not dripping – then placed lightly on the area – can help. Swap the towels after a couple of minutes each. If it’s blistered, DO NOT pop them. Bae can also take a couple of pain killers if needed.

      But – if they get worse, or the pain is terrible, or it’s weeping – go to the hospital.

      Your Mum is so lucky to have you. What a thoughtful, heart felt gift. Be prepared for happy tears. You said you wish that you could give her the world – mate, you already have.

      • I can only add, that once you cooled it, cover the burns with sterile gauze and wrap the hands. Keep away from further heat as much as possible.

    • Honey, the thing about adulting is stuff some people make up to pretend that they know what they’re doing and you’re doing just fine!
      I’m 35 and was standing in the aisle of the drug store the other day, clutching an extra large batch of toilet paper while being ridiculously proud of myself for having thought of buying some before running out.
      “I’m getting closer to being a real adult!” is pretty much what I literally thought.
      Also, I’m still very shocked when kids are overly polite towards me.
      Please do tell the tiny people in your computer (us) how your mom liked the shoes!
      And about the Harry Potter play:It’s booked solid into 2017, it doesn’t quite factor in where you live.*sigh*

    • I think the presents you got sounds great, and I bet your mom will be really happy that you got her something.

      As for the whole adulating thing, I’m pretty sure it’s overrated. I’m 40 and I don’t think I have it down yet, so you’ve got plenty of time. Sounds to me like you’re a sweet and caring human, and that’s more important. I hope you have a fabulous Christmas

    • we’re real! we’re real! but feel free to tell us anything you want like you would a diary cause i’m into that

  45. Advice on learning how to drive anyone? I’m so scared. I’d rather ride a nimbus.
    I need to know how to drive though, because I have wanderlust so badly, and I live in a place where you can only go somewhere with a car, unfortunately. I need to go :/

    • I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 23. I seriously put it off for so long that I ended up taking the test for my permit something like 9 times total.

      My advice is to pay the money for professional lessons, even if it’s just one or two (in my state you are only required to have the classroom part if you are under 18). The professionals are going to be super calm and it’s going to be way less stressful than your parents or friends in the passenger seat screaming “SLOW DOWN WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Or whatever…

      • I should make it clear that I wasn’t an awful driver for all those years. I just got my permit when I was 18 and for whatever reason refused to learn until I was in college, but I kept renewing the permit just in case.

        • Yup, I don’t really have the money for lessons but..isn’t that what financial aid is for? Lol. :p thanks!

    • my advice on learning how to drive:

      + you are probably in your lane
      + put on some good music
      + fake it til you make it

  46. We did our Christmas today and it actually went really well and was a lot of fun, and I’m so glad because last year sucked and I was really worried about being at my parents house this year, but my mother didn’t get angry for no reason so yay!

    Tomorrow I’m spending the day with my extended family and my little cousins who I love more than anything while my dad and brother go to see Star Wars, something I have no interest in (sorry not sorry haha)

    I hope all of your holigays and New Years go well and 2016 is better than you could ever imagine!

  47. I opened one gift early today, which ended up being probably the greatest present I’ve ever received. One of my best friends, who was a couple years my junior at my alma mater and thus still there, jacked one of the university’s traffic cones which read: “TRANS” on them. I always joked to her, and others, about stealing one and/or taking a photo while wearing one as a hat. My friend went above and beyond and I feel like the luckiest lady in the universe. Nothing makes Christmas like petty theft.

  48. Well christmas with my family is ?maybe? probably not as bad as it could have been…? I don’t exactly know. I am quite happy about not having to see my very abusive awful older brother! I was going to have to see him and it was going to be awful, but. then he got arrested again last friday so now I don’t have to see him. But he got arrested for harassing and assaulting my parents, so that’s not good. They and the house are little worse for wear and it’s kind of a hard holiday for them right now. We are skipping a lot of traditions because its easier for them but it’s sad. Its exhausting being home and answering questions about my life when no one really cares about the answers at all, and i never know how to answer in the first place.

    • I’m sorry Jay.

      If there’s anything you’d like to share about yourself or life at the moment, I’d love to listen (read?).

      • We bought our cats a little stocking with toys in it for christmas. This morning we opened it up for them, my wonderful cat Zaboo (who is 16 1/2) played with every single toy! He picked a few up and ran off with them and would come back to bat some around and run off with another. he was the most precious cutest thing in the world! Our other cat didn’t even play with them at all, she just stared at us.
        This morning we kept it simple and just opened presents with me and my parents, but later we are picking up my grandparents and going to my uncle’s for dinner with him, my other uncle, and other grandma. It’s going to be a lot and quite hectic. Hopefully not too awful.

        • Zaboo sounds amazing (and he also has a great name)! I hope today went ok with your grandparents, and I’m really sorry things are so difficult. *hugs*

        • I’m just sitting here reflecting on the awesomeness of the name ‘Zaboo’. Most amazing cat name, ever.

    • oh gosh i am just wishing you all the love and peace in the world this season. i am so sorry it’s been so hard <3

  49. Merry event of your choice dear straddlers. Apparently my internal clock is still 6 years old because regardless of the fact I got in at 2 am, I woke up at 7:30 on Christmas morn, all through the house not a critter is stirring so I thought “hey lets check out Autostraddle”.
    The weather here in the north of England is weird as all hell…nothing changes!
    Last night I went to church guys, and I want to tell you it confirmed my atheism like never before. But the choir were amazing, I was there supporting them, and my queer buddies therein. Alone in my pew during the service I had moments of clarity like wow religion gave us amazing art, and music, and architecture, and a heteronormative patriarchal hegemony…Merry Christmas! It was weird but kinda great and freeing after years of post religious upbringing guilt at my non religiousness.
    Have a wonderful day everyone, I hope to post a picture of of the dog in her Xmas outfit tonight. If G-Ma pulls a crazy eyed screamer then I’ll be back sooner for solace. Festive hugs for those that want :)

    • Hi Hat, I was so excited by a post from someone else who lives in the north of England that I am overcoming my usual shyness about posting on A/S in order to express this excitement! Also I relate very much to your solo pew experience. Hope you had a wonderful day too and please do post a picture of your dog in her Xmas outfit. I would like to post a picture of my cat but if I tried to make her wear a Xmas outfit I would have no fingers left to operate the camera… Happy north of England Christmas!

      • Has it rained all day for you too…? I may spend tomorrow building an ark. It’s getting apocalyptic out there. Dog pic on hiatus due to imgur mare. Hopefully will resolve soon as she looks freaking adorable. Your cat sounds like my mother’s cat…I value my hands too much to even pet her. Hope you had a good day and hooray for overcoming AS shyness. Folks here are cool.

        • Yes it has! Ark sounds good; I have no carpentry skills so will just have to cling onto a roof or something when the rain apocalypse comes. To give a fair representation of my cat, I should explain that she is super affectionate and laid back 99% of the time, but the 1% exception is ‘things a vet might do’, and I think she would put Christmas outfits in that category rather than understanding their true festive purpose… Can you give us hints about what your dog is wearing to build suspense for the eventual photo reveal?

          • Dog was wearing a striped turtleneck with a reindeer on it. She has since been divested of it so she can lounge by the fire. My aunt bought her socks but we have yet to put them on, similar sitch to your cat, it would fall under the vet might do category but I feel the resultant video footage would be worth a nip or two.

          • This sounds truly adorable. Fingers crossed for Imgur function in the near future! I agree that the sock video payoff would probably be worth it. Maybe while she’s nice and relaxed by the fire…

    • sending you so many festive hugs! also, as chief elf of autostraddle and also i think maybe santa’s apprentice i am so glad to have found someone else who has a deep instinctual love for christmas morning. i hope it was awesome!

  50. Merry everything Straddlers.

    Today’s weather was extremely hot. I am a foster mother for my local animal welfare group and currently have three wonderful kittens staying with me. Because of said kittens, I drove to my parents place for the day.

    It was fairly subdued. We ate nice food and then I watched a movie with Mum. I also found a load of stuff in storage that I wanted, so that was a bonus.

    Tomorrow my parents are coming to my house. We’re going to fix the fence, mow the lawn and have another day together. I feel that this holiday season has been really, really long. The silver lining is that it’s been about presence, rather than presents, this year.

    Happy holidays to each and every one of you, especially those feeling left out or just generally down. You’re all so incredibly special, and I hope you know that you are being thought of and valued.

    Finally, a massive thank you to The Team. May your day be filled with joy and great things.

    • Happy holidays, and thank you for writing lovely things for everyone :) Hope the fence fixing was a success and that the kittens are doing well – it’s awesome that you foster. pics or further details of the kittens welcome…

  51. Top of the Season Everyone!

    Our Christmas is over for this year. All went well, the Darlin Girl and I had a lovely day together, even had stero snores for Nanna Naps this afternoon.

    Hope you all have a very special day today and I wish you all that you can wish for yourselves for the new year.

    Best Wishes to you all and Thanks to all of the Team for an outstanding year.

  52. it’s Christmas morning, and my 20 yr old sister is blaring Christmas music to get me and our younger sister to come out of our rooms. we as a family agreed upon 9:30 for present opening, but I think if it were up to my sister, we’d rush downstairs to open presents at like 6am. much enthusiasm. I’ve just been lying in bed reading autostraddle. not quite ready for the day to start, but I don’t have much choice!

  53. Out to my parents recently, but they still think queer/ bisexual is a choice. This is becoming a miserable holigays (don’t enjoy Christmas anyway as a Jew). Could use some support.

    Fun to read all about all of your adventures though! Long time lurker, first comment :)

    • Here’s some support!
      Give your parents some time, maybe one day you’ll be having a gf over with you for Christmas, all of y’all will be having eggnogg and at some time your mom will lean into you with a “Remember 2015, honey?” and she’ll get you a refill because she still feels crap about back then.

    • I’ve been out to my mom for over a year now but just came out to my dad last week. He won’t even talk to me about it and though my mom has improved somewhat, she still thinks it’s a choice.

      But it does get better. I’m spending the holidays with my girlfriend’s family. And though I do miss my family, it’s nice to be around people that care about you and are supportive. Hang in there.

    • sending you support! sending you love. sending you the things you need to get through this moment in time and also the moments in time that will be like it moving forward. as most of all, sending you a boatload of solidarity and the everlasting knowledge that you are not alone, that you are valid and true and right, that you are perfect.

  54. I’m at my parents’ house and it’s 10:30 here. My dad and I have been up for two hours, the rest of the fam is sleeping off a hangover. I’m being very patient.

    Later we’re making duck and drinking port and it’s gonna be cute af.

  55. I’m sorry, I just have to vent for a minute:
    I come from a family that breathes Christmas.
    And now, I am usually struggling not to be alone for Christmas eve.
    I don’t even decorate, from the box, in the hallway, because I try to ignore the festivities, I try to ignore who is gone and how much has changed.
    I try to have a nice dinner with a friend for Christmas, so I celebrate a little bit, without it hurting too much.
    This is my Christmas thing, these years, trying for it not to hurt so much, because when it hits, it hits surprisingly badly.
    My quest has been to fly under the radar.
    No more traveling out into the country to spend endless days of forced merriment with strangers, no more fake cheeriness without the opportunity to withdraw, no more accepting family dinner invitations from well meaning acquaintances.
    Dinner, a friend and a movie, quiet, calm, undangerous.
    Now, I have been very open about my past history of depression to my friends, I am open about not doing too well, these days, as well.
    So, today, I keep getting one whatsapp message after the other:
    “How are you?How’s your Christmas been?” And you know what?
    All I want to say is,”Fuck you.”
    How do you think it’s been?
    Surprisingly fantastic because Santa dropped by unexpectedly?
    The friend who, months ago was all like “Let’s celebrate together, I have to work and can’t see my parents.” told me last week, that she did get time off, after all and is flying to Greece to see her fam, but I’d be totally welcome to come along, of course.
    She sends me whatsapp messages twice a day now.
    My brother sent me a whatsapp message yesterday, around two in the afternoon, if I wasn’t going to come by for dinner at five, without a word prior, and when I told him, I had plans, he was all, like “At least you’re not alone.” and didn’t even call, at all, all evening(we celebrate the 24th). Did I also mention his cats I’m super allergic to?
    My great aunt, who went to a hotel in the countryside (I was invited along) to celebrate with friends called and called again today(with health issues), angry that my brother hadn’t invited me for the 25th to his wife’s family’s thing, which I would have rather shot myself in the foot than have gone to.
    My mom, whom I called yesterday, was already tipsy at around three her time and kept spinning this heartbreaking optimistic thing about me moving to the US and moving in with her and earning three times as much as I do here.
    I’m not even board certified for the US.
    Everyone is living their own and best life, and good for them, I manage, I get by,
    I even manage the Holidays just fine, but everyone just shut the fuck up.
    If you suddenly remember me in the midst of your festivities and suddenly grow all sentimental and then guilt ridden,and then worried, don’t send me a “Uh, are you going to kill yourself?”(“How are you?”) fucking WHATSAPP message.
    And if I don’t answer right away, don’t send me an “Is everything alright?” message two hours later, either.
    It was a crap Christmas, if you must know, but an ok evening, and I’m relieved and a little saddened it’s over.
    I’ll actually try and have a good Christmas next year, I promise.
    I’ll just invite everyone over to my place and see what happens.
    And now I will finally begin my reread of Harry Potter :-)
    Hogwarts, people.

    • sorry your friends and family haven’t been good about Christmas and that you’ve had a hard time. happy Harry Potter!

    • It can be really hard when it seems like everyone around you is excited by Christmas and making awesome plans and that’s not how it’s going to be for you. Choosing to reread Harry Potter is a viable alternative – sometimes all we can do is make the best of it and do it our way. I hope you have a wonderful year ahead

    • you deserve some heaps of self care right now and i think harry potter is a strong start. i am sorry it’s been so rough! we are all here to love you
      through it, though <3

    • When I volunteered at food pantry the holidays would make me agitated for a similar reason. People go all year without sparing the a thought about others much less a can of beans and suddenly there’s all this care, concern, donations and even families volunteering for a couple hours before taking some pictures then going back to their regular lives and festivities .
      While yeah during winter in North Western European tradition reaching out to others and concern for the welfare of your fellow humans is a thing, but shouldn’t you care all year round? Not just for a brief period out of guilt or getting with the season of giving.

      Just ergh.

      There is no try, only do.


    • Thanks you guys, like really. I was hitting a bit of rock bottom there.

      If you want to hear how life sometimes plays out like a TV epsiode:
      I went for a medical shift at the refugee shelter today(I was awfully glad I had something to do) and heroically doled out ibuprofen and tylenol, with some craziness thrown in (“Could you see a guy with an infected glass eye?” “A what?”).
      When I left, I joked with one of the nurses about the barrage of stuffy noses and different aches that would have been just fine without me there.
      But you know what the guy said?
      “It was important,that you were here, because these people didn’t exactly need a doctor, they just needed to be not alone. And they weren’t.”

      Well, thank you life, for hitting me over the head with that one.

      And Lex, the volunteers there today have been there for months. Some of them almost every day. Especially the translators.
      No one ever takes a picture, btw.
      It’s really restoring one’s faith in humanity, let me tell you.
      Have a good change of the years everyone!

  56. Merry Christmas all! I’m at work taking people’s calls about their cruises…. Well not really cuz no one is calling cuz it’s Christmas but whatever. I’m using the free time with double pay to catch up on all the Autostraddle articles I missed this week!

    Was Santa good to you folks? Santa was amazing to me but I find that as a real life grown up, it’s harder to ask for stuff cuz the things I really want aren’t on sale on Cyber Monday, y’know? But I am really excited about the adult coloring books I got and the crayola kit with the fancy colored pencils. I shoulda brought em to the office today, shoot.

    • oh my god! i got an adult coloring book too!!!! which one did you get. i’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

      • Oooooh!! I got 3 of em: Stress Relieving Kaleidoscope Patterns, Doodle Emporium, and Stress Relieving Patterns. Plus also the Crayola Color Escapes one with the garden themed coloring pages. I’m literally so excited to color and de-stress

  57. Hey there, all you wonderful people! It’s time for me to break my silence and write some words on this internet website place! The reason? I have the best holiday tradition EVER.

    Every Christmas Eve, my giant family gathers to shoot one another with LASERS! We go to Laser Quest, which is this huge two floor facility for laser tagging, because it’s actually cold here and we would rather sweat it up indoors.

    Then we head to my parents’ house to discuss our victories and losses over food and beverages. It’s amazing. Maybe eventually we’ll upgrade to paintball and REALLY hurt each other!

      • Thanks! I’m 26 now, so we’ve actually been laser tagging one another for about ten years! Now that all the cousins are grown and many are spread across Canada, it’s kind of incredible that we all manage to gather for a silly laser-filled afternoon every year.

      • Thank you! I’ve been reading everything on autostraddle for about a year, signed up for cobalt a few months ago, and picked the holigays to show my existence!

  58. This is my first comment on here despite years of reading and adoring Autostraddle. Just thank you for existing, I’m a babygay and you helped me very much in giving me a sense of community! <3 I'm now visiting my fam in Latin America and here Christmas is way louder and funnier than in Europe – also, it's summer! also, first Christmas with the whole family in a long time, so full of love (but also anxious. Loving people so much exhausts me because I'm constantly worrying if I am annoying them. My cousin was scared to take me with him to their party since I am in a wheelchair and he worried it would be unsafe. I agreed on staying at home so he would not worry). But it was a fun evening. <3

    • welcome to the wonderful world of commenting on this website! we love you! glad to have you here! nobody in your family finds you annoying and if they do well then they are just so negative who needs that energy anyway.

    • Hey M, Happy Christmas!! I’m sure that the full of love thing goes both ways and that your family are thrilled to have you visiting :) Have a wonderful rest of the trip!

  59. Shout out to anyone else not out to family. Just had one of those days where I’m hiding (a really great) part of myself and it feels simultaneously insignificant and of utmost significance. Happy Christmas darling queers xoxo

  60. Possibly relevant: last night on christmas eve I had a dream that I went to a christmas concert and had my picture taken with Ellen Degeneres who was wearing a gal pals christmas sweater. I’m not making this up. I just wanted to share. I always have very vivid dreams, which can make things entertaining sometimes.

  61. I slept horribly, because yesterday evening we had a power cut – just as I settled into bed but then I had to get back up – so my night was full of stress as I contacted the electric company and kept people calm and resisted the wish to pass out from exhaustion.

    Lunch was really good today, and the afternoon was full of television and installing a dozen or so games.

    I just agreed to learn to swim in the new year, which is a little horrifying (since I’ll be learning at a public swimming pool and I’m 20 and that’s embarrassing, eek) but there is no one I trust more than the friend who suggested it (he’s a qualified lifeguard and swimming teacher, and we’ve known each other since we were 4 years old).

    • You shouldn’t be embarrassed about learning to swim at 20 – making the decision as an adult is brave and makes you a badass, I say. You can do it!

  62. Happy day all!

    Last night played gin rummy with my girlfriend, grabbed some snacks and beer, and watched a movie.

    I’m going to spend my first queeraday with her family today. She told her brother and sister about me being nonbinary and they seem to get it plus her sister is vegetarian so there will be some veg tamales and sides I can eat.

  63. Happy day all!

    Last night played gin rummy with my girlfriend, grabbed some snacks and beer, and watched a movie.

    I’m going to spend my first queeraday with her family today. She told her brother and sister about me being nonbinary and they seem to get it. Plus her sister is vegetarian so there will be some veg tamales and sides I can eat.

  64. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in my family. All of the kids are finally old enough to deal with adults and are less likely to pour hot oil all over themselves so we had fondue last night which was delicious.
    My baby sister ended up sobbing over the Chris Pratt poster I bought her so I guess my gift selections were pretty successful this year!
    I’d say that it was the most lowkey Christmas I’ve ever had, but at the end of the night, my grandpa decided to have his annual controversial discussion with us. As a white cis hetero racist and sexist man, I ended up leaving and going to bed as he spewed incredibly awful words about Muslims and Hilary Clinton and I just wanted to set myself on fire. So merry Christmas I guess.
    Luckily, they leave today and my SO will be coming over tomorrow night and spend the weekend with me making pillow forts and watching Star Wars after we exchange gifts.
    Hopefully all you queermos had a happy and safe holiday season! I’m definitely looking forward to the new year!

  65. Spent Christmas Eve making christmas cookies with my little cousins for Santa. I made this gay rocking horse unicorn because I can.

    We’re going over to my aunt’s house later today for dinner. I’m not out to any of my family yet and am mostly hoping to avoid any political etc conversations with my conservative family.

    I’ve also seen Star Wars twice already and I’m super excited to see it again tomorrow in IMAX.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

    • Seconding the love for the gay rocking horse unicorn! The horn is especially awesome.

      Hope the dinner went ok, and enjoy Star Wars x3!

    • That cookie is beautiful and I want one.

      I’m super jealous that you’re about to see Star Wars for the third time!!

      I hope everything goes smoothly at your aunt’s house; merry christmas. :)

  66. Yesterday I met my baby cousin for the first time. She loved sitting on my knee and chewing on my pride necklace. She also loved the rainbow story book I bought her. Kid has good taste. :D

  67. Guys I promised a pic of dog in her Xmas sweater but imgur is having a mare so I’ll try again in the morning. I also took a picture of the Christmas pudding on fire to post. So crossing fingers I can get it working.
    G-Ma did start a few fights, including one with me over whether I’d told her that I finished my MA, she came to my final show and one of her gifts was my grad photo…FML. So the traditions of family fallout on Christmas Day are alive and well! Hope you are all having a splendid day.
    Hoping for Boxing Day imgur function.

  68. How you know you’re dating a liberal Methodist minister’s daughter: your first Christmas present is a card describing a donation made in your name to a collection of outdoor gear for Syrian refugees in Turkey, baby Jesus having been born to refugees; the collection being a partnership between his church and a local mosque.

    In other news this is my first trip to meet the family and I’m exhausted from being “on” for days on end.

    • This family sounds awesome! I am at the GFs family home and I love them, but I also am happy that they don’t have a coffeemaker to give me my excuse for a daily solo outing and some down time. :)

  69. Happy Christmas, everyone. I’m having a weird time this year. It’s the first Christmas with my ex and our two-year-old daughter since our breakup, and it’s warm and rainy here, and two of my favorite housemates moved out today, and my boyfriends are both occupied with their other partners, and I’m lonely.

    • you are not alone! i wanna post the video but i think i already did upthread. but i am here and we are here and i hope it ended up being ok and if it didn’t that’s alright because it will, because things always end up being ok. they do! sending love <3

  70. This Christmas has been manic as usual with four kids (aged 2, 7, 12 and 15) (they’re a handful!), me and my parents in the house celebrating together. Lots of wrapping paper everywhere, guests calling over all through the day and kids running around buzzed on sugar is definitely exhausting so I’ll be needing a quiet few days after this for sure! On the always plus side, I’ve eaten a lot of good food and spent a large quantity of the day on a much-awaited Jessica Jones binge.

    (On the negative side I tried to come out to parents but chickened out in the moment, but there’s always next year of course.)

    • there’s always next year, or tomorrow, or today at 7 pm. it’s up to you! i hope you’re enjoying some r&r today!

  71. I got glitter gel pens as a present and promptly started to draw on myself with them because when it comes to ink based writing utensils I’m forever 14 in my heart and use my body for art.

      • Me too until I realised at 4am I forgot to get my mother a card found a lovely golden yellow sheet of construction paper, but couldn’t find the fancy scissors.
        Apple green and cherry red my little glittery holiday helpers.

      • Nah but I made one of my infamous vines in limey green around my wrist, up across my hand to my middle finger and added a holiday twist of holly berries in cherry red.

        Besides I don’t think I could draw a unicorn without reference pictures, a couple roughs and french curves.

  72. aw, yay! who was her fave. does she want a chewy doll because i know where you can get a really cute one just saying.

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