The Sugarbutch 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

December 6, 2010  |  miscellany

The last few years, I’ve done a holiday gift guide of sorts, ideas for gifts. Last year I focused on non-gendered gifts, gifts that could be for anyone. In 2008, I specifically listed things of masculine-of-center or dapper interest. When I started this in 2007, I had a butch/femme guide which included some typical girly girl gifts as well. Because I’ve got a gender fetish, I like gift giving excuses, and I like to give gifts that are highly gendered (well, when I know the person who is receiving it would like that kind of thing, of course) and gifts that are a little decadent, maybe classic and a little uncommon, things that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves but that add that little extra pizazz to our outfits, our gender presentations, our fashion.

This year I’m focusing on my own personal wishlist: things butch-related that I’ve always kinda wanted in my arsenal, but don’t yet have. If you’d like to buy one of these things for me, well gosh, thanks in advance, I’m flattered, and if you email me we can perhaps figure that out. (You can also make a donation to Sugarbutch by using the Paypal button over there at the bottom of the sidebar. This site is an expensive endeavor, and is a labor of love, and any financial support is greatly appreciated, and will probably go toward the new bed that Kristen and I need.) But that’s not the purpose of this list so much as to share some inspirations and ideas for the holidays.

One more note—if you are an Amazon shopper, consider clicking through my Amazon links before your final check out, will you? If you start here before you check out, you’ll give me a tiny amount of kickback, a few bucks here and there that I can put toward the cost of this site. And hey, if you’re going to be shopping there anyway, why not help me out? I’d appreciate it.

These gifts could be for girls or boys or grrrls or bois or your mom or your lover or whomever, and is not intended to be restricted to one type of gender. It’s just things that I am currently coveting, and would love to receive this year. On to the ideas!

Monogrammed handkerchiefs seem so classy. I have definitely picked up the habit of carrying one around, though usually it’s one of the hunter greens that Kristen has given to me. Sometimes I need to wear something a little more classic and upscale, though, and something a little more delicate and monogrammed would feel special. I know it seems a little indulgent, but isn’t that partially the point? To get someone something they wouldn’t necessarily get on their own, to encourage a dapper or polished expression that makes us just a little extra sparkly.

It seems silly to pay a lot for a gym bag, I mean just any bag will do. I have a cheap canvas bag from the national scuba diving association because my sister is a member and ended up with two bags from them, so she let me use one. It is, sadly, on its last legs and the zipper just broke, but it’s still pretty much functional, and I can’t quite find the perfect bag to replace it. What I really want is the Fred Perry Gym Bag, but it looks like I missed that window and it’s no longer available. But that style! The retro two-toned barrel bag is exactly what I want. Wish I could find one with a similar look! Any leads?

While I’m talking about gym bags … I already have one actually, but a personalized dopp kit might be a great gift. A “dopp kit” is another word for a toiletries bag for travel, basically. Not sure where that came from but it’s a kind of sophisticated word for a (in my mind) necessary accessory. Etsy has quite a few, I like this traveler bag in navy seersucker. I always keep one packed for quick & easy traveling, and I take one to the gym also. Makes it easy to have everything all in one place, I don’t go around searching for things when I need to pack for a trip. Makes it much easier. There are ones that hang, too, and ones that have lots of little pockets … just depends on what you’re looking for. I like these, probably because it reminds me of the one my dad had when I was growing up.

I can’t justify the cost of a Bookbook Macbook cover when I just don’t have the disposable income these days, but oh my gosh I love them. I see they have iPad covers too. Oh, I suppose I can add an iPad to this wishlist, while I’m at it. For all the traveling I’ve been doing these days I think it’d be really useful to be able to carry around books in one device, since often a third of my carry-on is filled with books. Because they’re necessary! What if I get to Portland or Northampton or Providence or Tuscon and I need to reference something and I don’t have it on me?

I’ve been a little obsessed with shawl-collar sweaters this season, and of course they’re $200+. American Eagle has a nice one, though, for only about $60. I’m not crazy about the color navy but I bet I’d wear it regardless. I keep seeing guys in this kind of sweater everywhere, and I love the look of the shawl collar. I’m not usually one up on fashion trends, but this seems like a new thing for me. I’ve looked at other stores in my price range (like Old Navy and H&M) but it doesn’t look like they have these kinds of sweaters … doesn’t it just look like the kind of thing you’d wear while skiing the French Alps, or sipping hot chocolate by a fireplace while going over an important document on your iPad, or getting out of the car with bundles of holiday packages in tow to greet family? Seems so classic and boyish and adult.

I’ve had my eye on a valet stand for a long time. If I was still working at a daily office job, I would definitely pick one up—I’m never quite awake enough in the morning to make smart decisions about my clothes, so it’d be better if I set ‘em all out the night before and had them all ready for me. Seems like there are lots of valet stands available online, ranging from about $75 to $250 plus. I wouldn’t need anything too fancy, just somewhere crisp and easy to lay out my next day’s clothes.

Anything by Kenneth Cole. Seriously, anything. Even if I already have that shirt or those pants or that leather bag, I would not mind another one. I will probably wear through it eventually, may as well have a backup. I mean how great is that raspberry scarf with the grey vest and black tie and jacket in that photo? I love it. If I had to pick one store that was the only place I’d get my clothes from, it’d probably be that one. Okay, that and Etsy. I know that’s kind of cheating, but the accessories at Etsy are essential—belt buckles and cuff links and ties, oh yes. I even requested an Etsy gift certificate on my wish list to family.

That’s all for this year! Hope this is useful in your gift-giving in the next month or so. I’ve been making the slow transition to celebrating solstice instead of christmas, so I think this year the gift exchange will be done on the 21st.

I’m curious, though: what are you most wishing to receive this year?

Oh, and … got any good gift ideas for Kristen, or for femmes in general?

PS: Fist Me This Christmas by the Wet Spots has been stuck in my head for the last week.

UPDATE: A couple more ideas, and some more links.

  • Holiday Wish List Made by Femmes from the Fuck Yeah Femmes tumblr. Support femme artists! Such as these aprons by Radical Muffin!
  • Feminist Gifts for Teen Girls from Bitch Magazine, in case you have a teen girl in your life
  • Other gift ideas that I didn’t mention and are great ideas: wooden hangers. Might seem a little anti-climatic, but they really upgrade a closet. And also, giant ice cube trays for my whiskey. Apparently, regular ice “bruises” the whiskey by melting and watering it down, but giant ice cubes don’t melt as fast and keep the whiskey more pure.
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14 Comments


  1. I really need a non-purse bag. There was a post on DapperQ the other day about finding good sturdy canvas bags at army surplus places, and I think I’m going to try that (dapperq.com/purse-alternatives-at-army-surplus). I really need one, but I try not to put anything potentially gendered on wishlists anymore, because I’ve discovered that even my closest of closests have a hard time interpreting my gender correctly (not that I blame them) and I end up getting feminized versions of whatever it is. Which is sad, because I -like- gendered things, and I really like it when people are creative about gifts and shop locally, but when my family asked for a wishlist this year I just sent them a couple Amazon URLs of specific things.

    I loooove handkerchiefs. I live near several Art-o-mats (artomat.org), which are old cigarette vending machines converted to dispense tiny works of art for $5, categorized by artist–so you have some idea of the medium and style but don’t know what you’ll get. There’s one artist who does crazy cloth prints in handkerchief size. SO much fun–though not very classy, and–you never know what color you’re going to get, so I try not to leave them hanging out!

  2. Wikipedia seems to say that the same came from a trademark and then became a household term.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopp_kit

  3. Well, the only thing I really, really wish for this year…. is health for my lover. *sigh* And that we’ll be living in the same town within the next 12 month.

    Something great and totally (!) affordable but small for a femme (and not just for “brides”, I just picked the first english link) is this:

    http://www.dhgate.com/lots-10-popular-magic-hair-

    They are so awesome with even the most unbehaving hair (like mine). You can pull it up real straight and it will stay there all day, I swear! And it’s invisible, too. ;-) Or you can tousle up your hair for a more dramatic and not so clean evening look with a long dress.

    If you want to spend more money, I always love to go to the sauna. Don’t know about the States, but over here there are really nice places with lots of different sauna types to choose from, relaxing rooms, often you can get a massage there too (aryuvedic full body massage!!!! God, that’s just the BEST body experience next to sex, I think). Better then a vacation sometimes.

    When my best friend was short on money, she gave me a selfmade gift voucher for severeal things I really appreciated. Like cleaning my appartment or getting my shopping done. That helped when time was sparse.

    Of course, most femmes would probably enjoy a good piece of jewelry too. ;-) I never really was the type for rings (can’t have it when playing the violin) or bracelets (same reason), but lately I’ve been thinking I would enjoy a bracelet a lot, maybe on my right arm then.

    Thing is though, I mostly like the real expensive stuff, because it just looks so much better, so much more classy. I probably wouldn’t buy it for myself ever, even if I could. But given from someone who could afford and would love to give it – hell yes, I wouldn’t say no.

    By the way: a valet stand comes in handy for femmes too. All my friends together gave me one for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it’s great!

  4. Ooh, thanks for a new theme song! This is perfect…

  5. Also, on the femme gifts front — personally, I feel like silk is always in style. A silk kimono-style robe to slip into on the way to/from bed feels incredibly luxurious and sexy.

  6. Great article over on Bitch Magazine if you need some feminist gifts for teen girls: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/bitch-in-a-box-femi

  7. Lovely Gifts for Good Girls:

    #1 Lingerie…panties…a robe… seamed

    stockings, whatever you want to see her in

    #2 At Christmas they come out with perfume gift sets they don’t usually sell. I love these, they usually come with body lotion and are fancy and last until the next year (Chanel #5 or Quelques Fleurs)

    #3 A Fancy Compact these are special and beautiful and will make her feel like a lady every time she opens her purse. (Estee Lauder has some).

    #4 A Fancy Lipstick. Same idea. Try Besame.

    #5 Jewelry. Something cool and unexpected (like a vintage piece). Or from Tiffany’s.

    #6 High Thread Count Sheets. Luxurious.

    #7 A gift certificate for a Spa, Manicure, or Massage.

    #8 In jokes and gifts tailored specifically to her interests (measuring spoons from Anthropologie, Moleskin Notebooks, fancy stationary, bookmarks, yoga classes etc. just thoughtful stuff she wouldn’t know you knew she wanted)

    #9 Chanel Nailpolish

    #10 Pink Champagne, drink it on New Years.

    Things to avoid….

    Bath products. Most girls don’t actually want generic bath products, unless they really take a lot of baths or have a specific brand they enjoy like Lush.

    Buying actual clothes. It is hard to pick out clothes for somebody else, and she won’t wanna admit she doesn’t like it if you bought it for her. Unless she picked it out and you know her proper size, I would steer clear.

    Books as the main gift. Nobody loves books more than I do, but books as gifts should really be limited to something special. Try to stick to things she would not buy herself, a book is just too ordinary to be the main gift, even for literary ladies.

    Jewelry that doesn’t look like something she already wears. Actually, if you are going to buy jewelry try to bring one of her friends to approve it before you buy it.

    Only buying her things she has asked for. There have to be surprises! Even people who say they don’t like surprises want surprises.

    Ok that’s all I can think of. Of course cute dates and lots of attention go without saying :)

  8. Besides shoes? :)

    What I really want is a dress form like this one:

    http://www.pgmdressform.com/display-dress-forms-m

    I agree with you on Etsy, they have some great gift ideas. So does Modcloth–I always find something I love on that site.

  9. Hm. My link doesn’t work apparently. (And the Bitch magazine link doesn’t either). I was talking about “hair scroo”, lets try another link:
    http://glitter-box.blogspot.com/2006/09/hair-scro

    Lenore, I’d second you on silk and would add cashmere, angora and the like. Feels so good to the skin.

    Oh, and since a lot of femmes seem to be into yoga, how about either a CD with appropriate music for asana practice? Or a nice pair of pants (organic cotton?), since mine always suffer badly at the knees… I would love to have one-on-one lessons with a good yoga teacher, too. That would be a great gift.

  10. Thanks for mentioning that about the links Julia—apparently none of the links in the comments work! I think that might be from this new(est) theme that I installed. I\’ll investigate. Sorry about that.

  11. My lovely butch wife is going to love her new monogrammed handkerchief. Thanks for the link. We’ve been together for 26 years and it’s hard to find things she really loves. She always carries a hankerchief (acutally 2..she carries a spare for me)

    Deb T.

  12. Butch gifts? I would give anything for a button-down shirt that fits. I’m cursed with being small, narrow-shouldered, and a cross-dresser. There are only a few stores out there– American Apparel, American Eagle, Express, Urban Outfitters– that sell shirts in XS, but the sizes aren’t always standardized and most are still too large. AA has an XXS, but it’s actually too small for me (damn it).

    So maybe, if there’s a tiny butch in your life, you could gift her a trip to a queer-friendly tailor to get her shirts altered. Romantic, no, but it’s a gift she’ll treasure forever. I’ve never done it myself, but it’s high on my list.

    Of course, I managed to get laid off three weeks before Christmas, which means my own butch girlfriend will receive none of these delightful items. I’m sure she’d love the fancy leather gym bag. Maybe next year, boi.

  13. If you’re looking at giant ice cube trays, you might think about scotch rocks (aka whiskey stones)? http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/ba37/

  14. i got a girl’s version of a shawl collar sweater at gap for $20 black friday weekend – maybe check that out/wait for sales?

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