The Sugarbutch 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

December 9, 2009  |  miscellany

There are some standard gendered gifts – belt buckles, cuff links, handkerchiefs, pocket or wrist watches, ties & tie accessories, makeup, perfume, jewelry, lingerie – and while I do in general highly recommend them (though maybe not makeup and perfume unless you know what they like), I want to branch out to more than just gendered beauty products.

(You can of course find any and all of those things I just mentioned on Etsy, and they will be amazing and worth it.)

Consider some more important things while you’re buying your gifts this year: SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS. Buy from craft fairs. We artists & activists are the ones who have been hit hardest by these troubled economic times. Consider doing your best to put your money back into the communities you love to keep them strong and thriving. Try to avoid shopping from Amazon (but if you do, follow links from your favorite websites who are Amazon affiliates – like me – before you check out to help us get a small kickback from your purchase).

Consider giving less stuff. Always give less stuff. There’s a great anti-stuff holiday gift guide at Get Rich Slowly this year. Consider art memberships to art galleries, sculpture parks, web sites. Consider ordering from friends who make their living through their craft.

Pay artists. Support us with money. Donate, if you can, to Scarleteen – or me – if you want to see us continuing to do this work. See also: Why I am not afraid to take your money by Amanda Fucking Palmer, and The Season of Freaking Out by Susie Bright.

Alright: back to the gift guide. Here are some ideas for folks, regardless of gender.

For Writers

  • Tul pens – particularly the needle point (0.5) gel or rollerball. I know, I’m old school, but I still write a large part of my work by hand in a notebook. So I am always going through pens, and always finding new ones. The Tul pens are my new favorites, but others include Pilot Precise Grip (extra fine, black); Pilot Precise V5, Staedtler Liquid Point, Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink, and the Bic 537R.
  • Lined notebooks – I am constantly going through these, and it’s wonderful to have a backstock on my shelves. Writers tend to be superstitiously specific about their notebooks, but I am not – though I love nice paper (like the clarefontaine notebooks which are part velum), I can write in anything. It’s about the words, not the object.
  • New Yorker magazine subscription – after a couple different very impressive articles recently, I think I’d like to keep up with this more often than I do. It’ll be hard – it’s so much reading! – but I want to try. This is on my wishlist this season.

For Chefs

  • Salad Spinner – not quite a perfect wintertime locavore tool, but something I’ve been wanting to add to my arsenal for a while now
  • Dutch Oven – Kristen has one of these on her wishlist. Versatile and specific baking tool.
  • Cast Iron Pan – a really good one. I love mine, they are broken in and 100% vegetarian and beautiful. Highly recommend a nicely sized one for the aspiring chef or cook you know.
  • Good Knives – I have one, but I would like one more, perhaps more than one more. I’d like to retire my tacky beginner knife block, eventually. Always a welcome gift for those who work with lots of vegetables

For Lushes

  • Spirits – a lovely bottle of whatever they drink – or an upgrade of whatever they drink – is always a great holiday gift. Myself, I am a whiskey guy, preferably bourbon, and lately I have been loving Bulleit Bourbon, Hudson Baby Bourbon (going to the distillery for this one soon! So excited!), Makers Mark, and Woodford Reserve. Of course, Jameson, Jameson 12 year, and Gentleman’s Jack are quite welcome in my house at any time.
  • Wine – if you know what someone likes, why not give them a nice upgrade? A $20 or $30 bottle of wine is usually too much for me to spend on myself for dinner, but whoa it’d be a lovely and very welcome gift.
  • Bourbon glasses – I just bought a cheesy set of 4 for $2, but someday I would like to have some real bourbon snifters. Heavy ones, very plain design, very classic. Someday.

For Gadget Lovers

For Dapper Folks

  • Leather care – do you know this person has a fairly extensive leather collection, be it boots or harnesses or jackets or whatnot? Perhaps they could use a refill on some of their leather care products. I go through Saddle Soap, Mink Oil, and black polish pretty frequently, and some of my brushes could use an upgrade. I’m sure if someone sneaked into my shoe shine kit they could tell what it was I needed to replace.
  • Metal pocket comb – I’ve always wanted one of these. Retro, suave.
  • Pocket knife – someday perhaps, I’ll get a nice pocket blade. This is on my general eternal wish list. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about the craft that is pocket knives, but I bet I’d love to learn.

For Folks who Grumble About the Cold

  • Cozy Robe or a Kimono Robe – For those of you who don’t like to wear winter clothes (ahem, you know who you are), a nice cozy robe might be a wonderful wintery addition. The problem is getting one that is sexy and sleek instead of bulky, but still warm. I haven’t solved that dilemma yet, but I have some ideas …
  • Cozy hat & gloves & scarves- I’m thinking extra soft and warm. Who cares that ze has some from last season? These get old and worn through and threadbare, and upgrades are always welcome. Search your local craft fair for these, find some beautiful local soft soft soft wool.
  • Knee socks – Oh Sockdreams. They border on pornographic. Order the knee socks for the folks whose legs get cold in the winter. Check out their arm warmers & leg warmers and fishnets & fencenets too.

Whew! That’s a lot of little bits & ideas, but hopefully something useful. I’ve been thinking a lot about the separation of personality from gender lately, so this particular list reflects that – these gifts are not based on gender, but based on interest, for the most part.

What’s that? You want some books & media for the smarty pants gender theorist on your list? Oh! Well, check out my Amazon Sugarbutch store (then go buy your books at your local queer feminist activist bookstore, if you want them to be around next holiday season)!

If you need a little somethin’-somethin’ for the smarty sexy people in your life, consider one of my Sugarbutch Star Chapbooks. Only $10, and much easier to snuggle up with (and jack off to) than your laptop. Support your local, queer, feminist, sex-positive activist artists this holiday season! Send us support (in the form of money)!

If that’s not enough ideas for ya, go take a look at 2007′s holiday gift guide and 2008′s holiday gift guide. You’re bound to find something in there!

Oh yeah, one more thing: if you’re on Fetlife (and I am, under the user name mrsexsmith), you can sit on Santa’s lap over on Fetlife and tell him if you’ve been naughty or nice, and possibly win some pretty fabulous gifts.

I probably didn’t mention that one thing YOU really are wishing for – what is it? Which sex toys do you wish you could add to your arsenal? Which beauty products are you coveting? Are you desperate for new ties or new leather boots? What do you always wish someone would buy you, and never get? Femmes, help me out here: what should I get Kristen? (Shhh.)

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17 Comments


  1. I would love a cast iron pan. Great list!

  2. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I always get so excited when having a horrible job in a fabric store becomes useful:

    Have you considered flannel backed satin? I'm not sure how easy it is to find bathrobes made in this material, but if you sew or know somehow who will sew for you, this is perfect. Creamy, silky, very pretty satin on one side, with fuzzy, warm, delicious flannel on the other. It's not bulky, and while my store sells mostly pastels, if you got this in a red, deep purple, or black it was be very sexy, I do believe.

  3. I want a We-vibe and a pink, leather corset and/or pink leather vest.

  4. i did the tul handwriting analysis.. wow. the video is something..

    also, i love the “pay poets” tag.. yes! pay us!

  5. Ooooh! I just had a pengasm over the TUL! The doc on that website is so silly :)

    Also, I've got visions of dancing cast iron pans! I've been waiting for mom or grandma to decide they don't need one of theirs. I'd much rather get a used one than a new one, but either way I think I'd be happy to have one at all.

  6. I usually want 2 things, on any present-receiving occasion: something I need but can't buy for myself, and something I want but don't need and which I definitely wouldn't bother buying for myself [what with better more useful things to spend the money on...]. I call the last one a 'spoiling' present, because that's the aim behind it really. =) [I'd actually love a watch, but that's present-suicide since I'm so damn picky - you'd think simplicity and leather would be easy to buy but when you add originality ehhh, mission impossible is born.]

    Regarding Kristen, I say think about anything she's been complaining about needing/wanting for a while, think about what kind of person she is [does she like elaborately elegant, or daintily designed, or even seductively simple? what does she value most? is she practical or dreamy?] and apply it to that anything she's been going on about. It should trigger a few ideas :) Good luck!

  7. hmmm, gifts for Kristen…. I hope she already knows this, but the Revlon colorstay lipstick does not budge for love or money. Really. Does. Not. Budge. Forever Scarlet would be a good color for her. Then again, sometimes messing up the makeup is half the fun of having it on…

  8. For Kristen, anything from Lush.
    http://www.lushusa.com/shop

    Everything from practical moisturisers through to massage bars and bubble slices for her to indulge. It all smells gorgeous, it's all handmade, completely ethical, 100% vegetarian (no animal fat in the soaps here!) and 60% organic.

    It's one of my favourite places to hit when I'm looking to get someone special something nice for their birthday, Christmas or just because I love them. I spend way too much money on there!

  9. I love that you put pens on your guide for writers. It reminds me of my Dad, who said this when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas:

    "What I really want more than anything else is either a set of 12 pens or refills of the Pilot G-Tec-C4 (black ink). The refills are called Pilot G-Tec black ink ultra-fine 0.2mm (Dynamic Gel Ink). The last time I got any they came in packages of 2. Both the pens and the refills are very hard to find (not being distributed in the US) and comparatively expensive. Other than that I'm really set. Or another idea is to look at blogs on this pen to see if there actually is an equivalent that is distributed in the US. I remember doing this once and thinking it might be worth a try getting a few samples of pens fanatics like me thought comparable."

    Pen geek much? (And who ever heard of a pen blog?) Maybe I'll try getting him the ones you suggest!

  10. whoa – totally a pen fanatic. I'm not a big fan of the G2s you can get on the shelf either, though I do have some – their points are usually not fine enough for me, and I don't like retractables. The 0.2 ultra fines are really nice, though!

    But – I am a HUGE fan of Mont Blanc pens. They are some of the fanciest pens on the market, but they run more than $300 usually. But the kicker is, you can buy the Mont Blanc refills (abut $20) and they will fit in the G2 pen. You have to take a pair of scissors to the black plastic cap on the end of the Mont Blanc refill in order to make them fit in the pen, but that's much easier than it seems and is definitely worth it – they write like a d r e a m.

    The TULs are really nice, might be an adequate replacement. Others I like at the moment, that are more affordable than Mont Blanc: Pilot Precise Grip (extra fine, black); Pilot Precise V5, Staedtler Liquid Point, Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink, Bic 537R.

    And ooh boy, are there pen blogs.

  11. Wow… thanks for all those suggestions. I have my research cut out for me. I might have to go to a stationers and test some pens!

  12. i know i'm not supposed to be reading this, but MAX! thank you! i did NOT know that. and while i am a big fan of lipstick blow jobs, i also need something that isn't gonna rub off. (already ruined one of sinclair's collars. oops.)

  13. Personal favorites:

    i love Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner. comes in a variety of colors (i like Brown-Black), comes with a little sharpener in the cap, lasts for a long time and doesn't budget.

    also, cute sweatpants from Victoria's Secret, a sherpa hoodie from JCrew (sooo warm), tissue-thin tanktops from GapBody, perfumes (i love Ralph Lauren Romance, Emporio Armani and the Vera Wang princess solid perfume). i like Victoria's Secret's lace thongs too (super comfortable), but honestly, i think most of their non-thong underwear is kind of uncomfortable – it's skimpy, but not always in a flattering way, and the sizing is a little wear, especially if you're skinny with a butt.

    If you get her a giftcard to TJMaxx, they have super cute bags and clutches and a lot of high-end hair and beauty products (mini-curling and straightening irons, creams, nail polish…), and i bet they will have great stuff coming in after Christmas.

    i also love girly shoes, so heels from Aldo, Steven Madden, etc would be exciting (or you know, Louboutins. i guess i wouldn't turn them down….). i'm also craving a pair of over-the-knee suede boots that i wear during the daytime.

    oh, and ANYTHING from Bebe or BCBG. anything. but especially a black satin trench or one of those ruffly blouses with a high-waisted skirt. mmm.

    now, someone just needs to send this to my girlfriend…

  14. I am in desperate need of boots: beautiful, black leather, knee-high, femme-y boots that look and feel like they have a heel but don't actually increase the height difference between me and my short butch.

  15. what a great list, once again.

    in the spirit of trying to give less *stuff* this year, i think csa's, or basket-a-month, or whatever they call it in your area – subscriptions to a certain amount of local produce, etc. would be a really lovely gift, though more on the pricey end.

    though, i've become a rather silly homebody, and what i really want for christmas are things like towels (that match! and are cozy, of course) and baseboards. though, as a lush, additions to the liquor cabinet are always appreciated – doubly so if it's something i don't have yet (triply if it's something i've not had before =).

  16. Best present I ever got- a charm bracelet with various kinky charms I had to "earn" in order to put on- like a hairbrush (spanking), paw print (kitty play), knotwork (bondage), etc. Very cute, playful and fun, a nice thing for me to wear, and a constantly interactive gift!

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