As a person who grew up not celebrating Christmas, I’ve learned one thing: the drama of gift-giving is actually not that bad. The optimist in me doesn’t want to completely see gifts as a materialistic pursuit. Rather, I see it more as an underappreciated love language.
It’s too bad that buying gifts has a lot of unnecessary tension. That’s why we end up buying lame gifts for people we care for the most.
So apart from learning our monito or monita’s innermost desires, what else can we do to assure ourselves that our gift won’t bomb? Get them something unusual. Obviously, gifting them lame towels or candles (unless they’re into that) aren’t the way to their hearts. But buying them zines, cassettes, postcards, or anything from your friendly neighborhood artist is better than any last-minute department store purchase.
Zines, zines everywhere
A gift certificate to your chain bookstore is amazing. But you know what else is amazing? Getting to read zines from your current and future fave zine authors. Instead of going to a nearby mall, why not go to the last zine events of the year? This idea is not only for your friends stuck in a hipster loop. Trust us: there’s a zine for every kind of friend out there.
Shirts supporting your local feminist press
We all have that one friend we share heated, intersectional feminist debates with. And we love them to bits for helping us unpack our internal misogyny. How do we show them our love through an object? Don’t get them the “male tears” mug. Instead, buy merch from your local feminist press. Pro-tip: Their shirts are cute as hell.
Cute, yet erotic card games
Your ride or die hoe can be hard to shock. Of course, we can gift them a sex toy they’ve been fawning over Ilya or a gift card to La Senza. But if you want to step up your game, get them a cheeky card game. Our favorite pervert Darling Kink and game designer Birdie Salva crafted Happy Ending. It’s designed as an intimate, erotic card game for horny ghosts and vanishing clothes. It’s cute, scary, and a little bit cheeky—perfect for the unapologetic hoes in our lives.
Press play with tapes
Vinyl collecting is an expensive pursuit. So why not get your audiophile homie some cassette tapes? Now, I’m not talking about vintage tapes. I’m talking about tapes from artists in and out of Manila. Through folks like Genjitsu Stargazing Society and United Cassette Tapes, you can gift someone a cute ass tape from Bicol or Quezon or anywhere in the country. Creating a Spotify playlist for them is cute, but discovering new homebrew artists is way better.
Merch supporting freedom of speech
Every day we get to act and speak against the state’s atrocities is a blessing. In a country where fighting oppression will get you killed, anything reminding us that we’re on the right path gives us assurance. So to the freedom fighter in your life, get them something from cultural workers like the Makô Collective. Cop totes, zines, and stickers from their artists and feel empowered.