OPEN THREAD: Listen I Just Like The Word Christmakwanzakah Okay?


Every year since the day Autostraddle got born, we make space on this very queer website to hang out and celebrate and commiserate the ~seasonal holidays~ together in December! This year is no different! We have retired Friday Open Threads (although y’all are still very chatty on Fridays in our weekly Pizza Party and in the comment section of the Comment Awards and I fucking love it) for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that a lot of conversation that used to take place in The Comment Section Of Many Websites Including Our Very Own Website now take place on Twitter, not to mention that Many Of Those Other Websites Are Now Dead, And Digital Media As We Know It Is Changing All The Time And It Is Hard To Keep Up And Not Panic! I know I keep saying it but the world in 2019 media is very confusing and destabilizing! The world in 2019 in general is very confusing and destabilizing! But one thing I do know for sure, my pals:

You will have a better time hanging out in this Autostraddle open thread than you will hanging out on Twitter today, I promise. It’s science!

Whether you’ve gone back to your hometown and your family of origin for a week of vacation, whether you’re spending tonight and tomorrow with chosen family, whether you ignore the calendar and treat the entirety of December like a regular ol’ month, whether you’re on a beach vacation with your sweetheart escaping the cold and societal pressure, whether you’ve made latkes the past three days, whether you’re already planning the menu for your Kwanzaa celebration, whether you did your Solstice ritual last week and are enjoying this week off work with no religious obligations whatsoever…you should come chat in this open thread. We don’t have to talk about the holidays although we sure can! We can talk about whatever you want. To be totally honest with you I am A. Jewish and B. currently on vacation with my parents and my little brother, so I am not doing Christmas-Eve-Celebrations tonight and I will also probably not be very vocal in the comments because the WiFi here is not great! But I did make you a beautiful (?) extremely DIY feature image collage of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character Stephanie Zinone dressed up as a Christmas tree in Grease 2 for this joyous occasion, because I care about you and also because Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 is my root, which we discussed on this very website in 2013. Time! It just keeps marching on, huh? The more things change the more they stay the same etc etc okay!

Okay I objectively know this is a ridiculous feature image for this post, but it’s Christmas Eve and no one is in the office to tell me no, and I feel like it does capture something really special, like we’re going back to our DIY zine roots and also my literal root? Humor me, my birthday was 3 days ago!!!

So! Wanna talk about Michelle Pfeiffer? Wanna talk about your roots? Wanna talk about a holiday that isn’t happening this month? Wanna talk about your perfect / horrifying / supportive / insufferable family? Wanna gush about your pals or your crush or your partner or your pet? Wanna tell me what cute items you purchased off one of our holigay gift guides for your loved ones and/or yourself?? You’re in charge, friends. Grab a beverage, put on your coziest pajamas, and let’s hang out in the comments.

Whatever you’re celebrating this month – even if it’s “nothing” or simply “the end of this horrifying year” – please remember that everyone here at Autostraddle is rooting for you. That will remain true for forever, I promise.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. I told my girlfriend I love her! I love her. I am cat sitting for a cute cat. I think Christmas is the most boring day of the year (another Jew here). That’s all I got!

  2. I’ll be hanging out with my parents tonight. My friend who has been rejected by her family is planning to come by as well. The ex who I still live with is off with her boyfriend’s family. The cats and bunnies will all get special treats. I might bake a little something. Then I’ll force everyone to listen to my favorite holiday story as we sit around the fire:

    And THAT will be THAT. Just a random secular day off work to spend with the fam.

  3. So far today I’ve enjoyed coffee with baileys because I’m 65 and toaster waffles because I’m 9.

    Here in the midwest we have a gas station called Holiday which my brain now changes to “holigay” every single time so thank you for that autostraddle I love you.

    I love Christmas eve and this one is going to be chilllllll and I’m very into it. Merry christmas to all the hotties celebrating 💚💚💚

        • I’m trying to make phone calls, and most other medical offices are closed, so… very smooth! Unproductive, but smooth. What I’m waiting for is a patient to call in wanting an expensive test to be ordered before the new year and their deductible kicks in again. sigh. Not to mention last minute med refills.

    • *reads this, imagines Snaelle in grotesque retail scenario, channels some raw Witch-y power and hurls it in her direction through the Wyrd, meanwhile maintaining power channel to Chosen Sister who is working where she is really needed …suddenly realizes she can do lots more, raises a Mighty Chant for all the wonderful trans women and all the lovely cis women who love and support us, all across the planet but mostly for those on Autostraddle Island!*

      (You see, sometimes when you are alone at home and you think you have nothing to do you might find you have something very worthwhile to do …especially if you happen to be a Witch)

    • Sending you lots of energy (and more coffee and cookies if you need it!). I hope you’ve avoided the assholes

  4. Guys, I‘ve hacked how to enjoy Christmas movies (which my mom loves and I’m watching two of daily atm)!
    Just live stream imaginary fanfic them!
    Sub in a befitting favorite couple that you ship and you’re good to go and they‘ll be 100% more enjoyable, I promise!
    Like that whole Christmas Prince thing they’ve got on Netflix is featuring a clumsy blonde reporter which is a perfect AU Kara Danvers situation, complete with a reclusive Lena Luthor and quirky Luthor family Royals.
    Clexa also works well for several of these (Holiday Engagement and A Christmas inheritance,of course) and Swanqueen (Christmas in the Wilderness) too!
    I mean, if I can watch DnD and imagine NPCs and complete setups while seeing a bunch of people sit around a table with a map, this isn’t even too far a stretch of the imagination!
    I‘m going to strongly suggest „Imagine Me&You“ tomorrow,though, because I feel like I‘m overdosing on straight romance.
    Have a good Christmas and good food,everyone! I‘ll doubtlessly pop back in later!
    Probably with some ff recs for those who need them.
    Hugs and kisses from me to you! Especially if you don’t get any, have some of mine and a hearty and warm bear hug!

  5. I am ”celebrating” getting through literally 3 quarters of Fucking Christmas Eve ( 6 hours to go left here in the Uk!)

  6. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. from a dream where I was packing for a trip, and my brain was saying “This is the year you lay all your baggage out on the table and rearrange it into something better.” So whatever that means, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that’s my mood for 2020.

    HAPPY HOLIGAYS ALL YOU BEAUTIFUL STRADDLERS ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 And extra warm hugs for anyone who’s having a hard time during this season 💕

  7. Immediately sent this post to my wife because of the Stephanie Zinone collage FYI because they introduced me to Grease 2 and it’s very important.

  8. Happy Holigays everyone! And to all a gay night!

    I’m spending my xmas eve & xmas with family, and it’ll be chill and relaxing. What I’m excited for this year, is that in a few days, one of my straight girl friends is celebrating her birthday at the local gay bar! It gives me an excuse to go out, potentially meet another gay lady, and hopefully for my straight friends to be good LGBTQ allies ;)

    Another year has almost passed, and I feel like every year is better than the last. There is always something I think I could do better, but looking back at the past, I’m happy with how far I’ve come.

    bisous, baci, besos, and hugs friends!

  9. Happy Chanukkah friend! I kind of miss the Friday open threads as I got to read how everyone’s week was going. It was like keeping up with friends, but I am at work. I had the consumerism of the holiday, but do love latkes, sufganiyot, pie, & all the other holiday treats. I’ll take my latkes with apple sauce though I am not opposed to a coconut or cashew sour cream style option.

    How’s the week treating everyone so far? Mine has been alright. I saw my bank account yesterday & had the urge to go on a shopping spree. I did not, instead, I just bought a new laptop bag for work off Peak Designs’ ebay page(almost half the price). Last week I sent my bff her Chanukkah gift, which included a Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg Chankunnah card, an AS Misandry pin, & a few pictures printed out(all the machines I tried would crop the images so I was forced to leave two pcs out) as Al suggested in their gift post, thank you. My friend received it today(two days earlier than I was told) & thanked me for being so sweet & considerate, which made me smile to hear that she enjoys it. Thank you kindly Autostraddle!

    I spent my Sunday outdoors before the rain came that day.

    Thank you for viewing & reading my post. Have a positive holidays & happy new year! Also, let’s shred the patriarchy!

  10. I’m tired and cranky, my legs ache and my hair is FILTHY.
    The achy legs is from the weird fuckin positions I apparently get into while sewing an object by hand. I don’t get into these positions when embroidering cause the frame does all the supporting whereas sewing an object…
    Leaving for the bonfires at 5pm and I really wanna go but I’m afraid my legs won’t support my dumbass.
    Also an hour just doesn’t feel like enough time to wash my hair, dry it and get properly attired.

  11. I think I’m going to watch A Marriage Story and then Carol, and cry a lot. I have to go into work tomorrow (it’s my fault – I scheduled an event for Christmas Day…yay Jewish non-profits!). But tonight is crying on the couch with my dog. Love ya’ll!

  12. It’s already like 10 hours into Christmas here in Australia, so merry Christmakwanzakah y’all! I’m taking a quiet moment with my fancy infused coffee and Christmas baking before getting overwhelmed with family gatherings for the next couple of days. It’s stereotypically pretty warm here so tbh I’d rather be at the beach, so I might try to bail on something and go for a swim if I can manage it :)
    Side note: I miss these open threads and hearing about y’all, can we have more of this pls

  13. One day down!! Technically into xmas day now so I’m mentally breaking it into chunks ( 4 mins gone, woo!!)

  14. I bought my girlfriend ritual bath salts from one of the gift guides! Seh opened them today and can’t wait to use them. Also, the seller bought a holiday card and wrote my personal message in it before mailing! I’m so thrilled with the shop

  15. My favorite winter holiday food is ginger bread.
    Be it a cookie or a loaf GIMME.

    I made congri and my mom baked a ham accidentally creating a nearly Nochebuena dinner.

  16. I’m also on vacation with my parents and siblings (incidentally, less grief from my Dad this year about my “gal pal” Christmas sweatshirt than the first year I wore it, so yay for that), Vanessa. We went on a night hike/walk in a nature preserve, and we’re going on another hike tomorrow. So far my knee has held up all right (about 6 months after ACL surgery… I haven’t really done hiking since then). I really want to get back outside more.

    Today I also mentioned the My Lesbian Ants antvent calendar, which I saw in a post on Autostraddle, to one of my sisters. ¡Felices fiestas!

  17. I just discovered something satisfying and pleasant, and I want to share it with you.

    ‘Christmas day’ as they call it, and as usual on lazy days I scan what Transmisogyny City (Berlin, Germany) is doing this week. And what do I find? Saturday next I could spend many hours, from early afternoon to late at night or even until dawn at wonderful, welcoming, empowering and splendid events!

    First there is a play party where the organizers – some trans men, a genderqueer person and a cis woman – implemented a special policy for pre and non op trans women: we had to keep certain parts of our bodies covered because, as their official statement said, our bodies are ‘triggering’ and symbols of male oppression. And hundreds of people were apparently very happy with this, i.e. the whole BDSM and play party scene. This policy stood for two years and was revoked this spring, why I do not know and, frankly, I do not care, they did make their point very clearly.

    From there I could go to a well- established Lesbian party, maybe the biggest in Berlin. Some months ago I wrote an email to the chief organizer asking whether it would be safe for me to go there, and whether they would recognize me as a woman or not. From the reply I learned the following: women and lesbians on one side and ‘the trans’ on the other are two distinctive groups! ‘The trans’ are also ‘the transgressive trans’! And TERF is a terrible slur! So far, so good. But Saturday next they also have the temerity to call this event a celebration of ‘Lesbian witchcraft’. No comment on this from Yours Truly.

    Do they really believe I would go there – play party, Lesbian party, or both, thus throwing my womanhood, my dignity and my self-esteem into the dirt, and to be treated there like dirt, which I of course would be?

    Well if they do they are wrong.

    But! The satisfying and pleasant discovery is this: not long ago I would have flown into a black rage, but apparently I do no longer. I think that means I have weathered everything they can throw in my direction. This morning (half past seven here) I grin like a big cat, I think tender thoughts and send them to Autostraddle Island. No holiday food, no get- togethers with Chosen Family, no gifts, nothing …but I bask in my Witch-y Inner Strength. This is nice!

    Playlist: one title. Anvil of Crom.

    • That’s the best gift you could have ~ the gift of your own self. Happy Witch-y Self day ~ stretch out and purrrrrr, and know that Autostraddle Island is your home whenever you drop by. Sending warm wishes this winter day!

    • Seconding the warm wishes! A day late for you now, so instead they’re Boxing Day wishes. Here is my witchy kitty:

      Btw I can’t remember, have you tried the Lex app? I’ve seen quite a few people from Berlin posting there, and it’s meant to be a space that’s safe for all marginalized genders. Not sure if apps are your thing but just thought I’d mention it!

        • Oooooh I love the kitten pic! Thank you so very much, Chandra and Snaelle, for your warm wishes!

          (Regarding this app, I never heard of it, and apart from not being able to use social media apps for tech/poverty reasons I have become far too paranoid for that …but I’ll not go into this now, I look at the gorgeous kitten instead!)

          And, Rachel, yes exactly – one of the cheesiest movies ever but I do love the music. And – well because of where I live I cannot post any pics here, so I hope you take my word for it that it is possible to be barbaric and sexy at the same time – ask Snow, I am sure she will convince you.

          • Well, Rachel, I should have guessed that Snow had clarified the matter long before I arrived here. I deeply regret that I missed that though – I mean, the convincing.

            Regarding Red Sonja – yes indeed, but in her case the movie was so cheesy that I opted out early on. Whereas, in my humble opinion, Poledouris’ music is timeless.

            And pertaining to barbaric women – what could anyone possibly expect from cis men’s fantasies in the 80s? Well well – here we are, for real this time, and lo and behold, we need men for absolutely nothing, as there is nothing we cannot do significantly better than them. Being barbaric included. We are indeed coming full circle, to the sexy war furies of the Celts, the Valkyries riding dire wolves singing their chants and the female powers of Eastern Europe. Did you perchance look at the video Lex linked for me this morning? If not, I highly recommend it.

          • Snow, you are giving me dangerous ideas. Very dangerous ideas. Just saying.

            And, I like them. A lot.

          • Well it’s about time they do that already! And, I am certainly not afraid of a rough ride.

      • Lex – this is so wonderful, thank you so much!

        My witchy parts feel understood and appreciated and – yes, they got it exactly right in that video.

        • Well I am not sure regarding the translation of the lyrics, it is a language I do not speak – but bringing pastries along is certainly appreciated by witches! I personally do not think that pastries are really essential but that may be just me though. And, a woman who can make, say, good pastries, is halfways where we witches are anyway.

        • Also rather unsure of the translation because it is a language with few resources and ways to double check if your primary is English BUT in Slavic folklore wheat and grains are regarded magical.
          There’s one folktale from country I can’t remember where you get a fierce monster to fuck off by placing bread in the window sill and said bread tells the monster something like “I was cut down by blades, ground to dust by stones, and seared by fire yet still I live. You cannot kill me in away that matters, hit the road jack.”

          And as long as we’ve had holidays we humans have been making and eventually associating a food with a holiday.Pastry crusts are always made of fats.

          So TL;DR I’m suggesting there could be a “ritually” important pastry for winter solstice :P
          But if not I cannot guess what it was meant to be because they sing to fast for me to keep up with to even phonetically make guesses.

          • This makes perfect sense I believe. After all, important annual ceremonies were about having a meal together with the Dieties, and, at least on one occasion, with the dead, who were certainly not ‘gone’. And this Eating-Together maintained these very vital relationships: between humans and their Dieties; between the living and the dead; betweeen humans and humans.

            In other words, Chandra had it exactly right, for, what are witches, seen from a certain angle? Priestesses and shamans, particularly in societies in which priestesses and shamans do not exist any more. Officially, that is.

            So, Lex, if you shove some food into the maw of Giant Gator next year and eat the other half of whatever it is, who knows what might happen? Maybe something very interesting.

  18. Happy everything to everyone! This is the first year I’m living alone for Christmas. I’ve been super into the season all month, putting up my own fandom-themed Christmas tree and enjoying people’s decorations, parties, and every other secular aspect of the season. I didn’t expect it to suddenly become hard on Christmas Eve!! For one, it was very cold and windy and I got serious cabin fever since I couldn’t seem to get outside for any length of time. That always does a number on me. Also, over the past two years, I’ve been decidedly moving away from Christianity and exploring various Pagan paths. I feel blessed that I got to celebrate Winter Solstice twice this year, but it’s just hard to be faithless at Christmas. I cried a lot while listening to the service from King’s College, buth in frustrated anger, and also in mourning and grief. Also, I used to play the pipe organ and could literally feel the music in my hands and feet as I used to play it, and I was sad that I never was able to be a professional organist. But today is Christmas Day, and the sun is out! YAY! I know that the rest of my week off from work will bring very good things!

    • Happy everything to you too! Living alone gives you space to breathe, but also, that space can suddenly sometimes feel like a hollowing out where all the feelings rush in.
      It sounds like you’re breathing in again, so enjoy the rest of your week off and the sunshine!

    • I do treat December like a “regular ‘ol month.” (THANK YOU VANESSA! Your posts are my favorite!) But I clicked bc I too love the word Christmakwanzakah! However, once I realized I had a choice in the matter (just like with church, religion, marriage, babies, and toxic family members), I gave even that up. Now I happily enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating alone time while my partner spends time with their drama-inducing family! Huzzah!

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