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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- the iPocket Wallet – A wallet/iphone combination. I’m very picky about my wallets, so I was skeptical, but this one is worth it.
- Crosley Nomad Portable iPod Speaker Radio – I caught sight of this one at the Art of Manliness gift guide: a radio and speaker for your iPod, plus, and most importantly, the retro stylin’. Awesome.
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)!
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.)