It might feel bonkers early to release a 2021 gift guide, but honestly, I bet that this isn’t the first one that you’ve encountered this year.
Between the ongoing pandemic, increases in shipping costs, shipping delays, and the unrelenting supply chain issues, small businesses and megacorporations alike are going to be asking for your attention for all of November and December.
As a small business owner and someone who mails things both within the US and internationally, I can tell you that for the most part, news about all of the above issues isn’t exaggerated. Here are some examples:
- Shipping rates increased across all carriers beginning in October
- Almost all shipping carriers announced that in addition to price increases, they would be slowing down service
- I’ve had items backordered from my distributor since November 2020. Yes, last year. I literally still have not been able to get items that were part of last winter’s merch drop. That’s why I am running pre-sales the way that I am this year! I started buying winter merch items back in early September so that I wouldn’t get stuck, and some items are still unavailable.
- International orders, even to Canada, have taken up to 5 weeks to arrive to their recipients, with up to 2 weeks of that being in US customs. That’s on the lower end of many businesses’ experience.
- The cost of shipping supplies has gone up, too – the company I use for shipping supplies announced this rate increase back in June. Every single company I work with — distributors, transfer printers, sticker printers, and shipping carriers — announced price increases of 5-15%.
Basically, small businesses are going to be under a lot of pressure this holiday season. But you don’t have to be! As easy as it is to look through a Buzzfeed gift guide and Amazon Prime some stuff straight to your house, the best way you can get a truly unique gift this season is to order it from a small business — and order it early.
Like…pretty much this week or next week.
And that’s how we got here! That’s why the gift guide is being published on November 2. Because it kind of has to be.
Anyway, enough of the angst. This year’s gift guide features 32 amazing items — none of which were included in last year’s gift guide! So if you want to double up on options, go peruse the 2020 gift guide, too.
Nearly every item on this list is by a small business or independent creator, giving you the opportunity to truly put your money where your values are. I hope you find something amazing for your loved ones (or for you – you’re one of your loved ones, too). If you do, tag me and the creator in it so we know!
This gift guide includes options for every budget!
You may have seen Hilde Atalanta’s colorful vulva portraits around Instagram. Hilde is the Amsterdam-based artist behind The Vulva Gallery, and their mission is to celebrate the vulva in all of its shapes, colors, and unique designs. A Celebration of Vulva Diversity is available for pre-order now for 35 euros (that’s about $41 USD) and features more than 650 illustrations all based on real vulvas.
2. What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You by Heather Corinna*
Chances are pretty high that you or someone you know will start going through menopause at some point in your life. When that happens, it’s better to be prepared with compassion, laugh-out-loud, real-world advice from Scarleteen founder and sex educator Heather Corinna than to be stuck dealing with movie and TV tropes. Another great thing about this book? It’s non-gendered, making it the go-to option for queer and trans folks who are going through menopause directly or indirectly.
If you want to get more in touch with your erotic side, this one-year subscription to Dipsea could be just the thing. Gift it to a partner who loves erotica or gift it to yourself because you can. Dipsea’s stories are woman-centered, meaning each story involves at least one woman, but they include characters of all genders. Dipsea’s stories aren’t corny; they’re told to you in a natural, character-building way.
Want to get better at talking with your partners about sex? Tools can help you out — like this game designed by Mickie Woods. It features 69 questions to deepen your intimacy and better understand each other sexually.
Overall, it’s been a shitty year for abortion rights and access. One awesome gift for the person who already has everything their heart dreams of is a donation to your local abortion fund. The link above will take you to the general NNAF donation page, but you can search for the fund closest to you, too. (And part of the sales of certain merch items in my store go to my local abortion fund, too).
If you’re on the lookout for a brightly colored, squishy-firm dildo to last you a lifetime, look no further than Vixen Creations. Their Vixskin line offers dual-density silicone options for a semi-realistic feel. The Mustang is a cult-favorite and is available in some skin tone options and bright colors, too.
Pleasure Pie is a Boston-based artist who creates adorable, sex-positive art. Their zine gift set is a great option for someone looking to expand their sex-positive art and books collection. It includes four different zines full of illustrations and helpful tips.
Butt plug earrings. BUTT PLUG EARRINGS! Honestly, they’re adorable — and subtle, which is probably not something you imagined would go along with “butt plug earrings.”
If you’re the parent or trusted adult of a teen (or anyone else who might be wearing the wrong size condom), a MyONE Condom Fit Kit makes a perfect stocking stuffer. The MyONE program features 60 different condom sizes, so you can really find the one that works best for you (because spoiler alert: standard sizes don’t actually fit all, or even most, people with penises).
Did you think that kink gear always had to be all black leather or latex? Think again — this resin paddle is beautiful, colorful, sparkly goodness. It’s so beautiful, you just might want to use it as decoration in your home…but it has other purposes, too.
When I reached out to folks about products for the gift guide, this one was nominated with the note, “because hopefully, you’ll grow old.” And, yeah — older folks still have and enjoy sex! Joan Price’s Naked at Our Age explores aging and sexuality. It features stories from folks 50+ about how their sex lives changed as they aged.
Remember that “struggling to talk about sex” thing we mentioned a bit ago? If games aren’t your thing, maybe Stella Harris’ book Tongue Tied will be. This book is a straightforward guide complete with exercises and examples to help you practice communication, regardless of your current relationship status.
This brightly-colored, 1000-piece puzzle has Candy Land vibes — except everyone is naked. The puzzle measures 19 x 27 inches when completed. As a heads-up, Pink Bits is an Australia-based artist, and mail from Australia to the US is significantly delayed right now. Order ASAP!
Ev’Yan Whitney is a nonbinary educator focused on helping folks rebuild engaging and positive sensory relationships with their own bodies. Their book, Sensual Self, is available for pre-order now. It’s a workbook full of activities to help you reconnect with your body — the perfect gift for the cold winter months.
Partnered folks often ask me how they can sexually reconnect with their partners — and that’s exactly what I designed this bundle for. It includes a bunch of different tools designed to help you try new things, rebuild your relationship with touch, and get to know each other better. From a massage candle to the Sex Talk game to a positioning pillow to help out during sex, this bundle has a ton to offer — and there are only 3 available.
My winter merch drop is here and I have a bunch of new, cozy shirt options, including one that benefits SHIP, the organization that I did my early sex ed work at. They include some subtly sex-positive options, but I also still have some of the more blunt options from my spring collection left. All items are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping no later than December 1, 2021.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I want a four-foot-tall work of custom modern art that shows my amazing nude body?” Well, if you have, you’re in luck — Onnissia is accepting commissions for the Send Nudes project, which features some truly beautiful and bright art. Like any custom art piece, it’s an investment, but if you’re working on your luxury aesthetic, reserve your commission now before they close again.
Evgenia Vasilkova is a Ukraine-based artist (so if you decide to purchase some of her prints, make sure you do it with plenty of time for shipping!). Her prints feature lesbian sensuality and sexuality and use beautiful deep colors.
Aisle is my favorite company for reusable menstrual gear — once upon a time, they were known as Luna Pads, one of the earliest players in the reusable menstrual products game. They’ve since updated their brand and their entire product line, making their menstrual products even more lightweight while also still being super absorbent. Their sizes range from XS-5X, but if you’re buying for someone else, I recommend opting for the reusable pads (or a gift card!) to avoid any sizing issues. Aisle is a certified B-corp based in Canada, and they use non-gendered language in their marketing.
Tuck It Uppp’s underwear design was created in the 90s by Teresa and Cris Cabana, and has been sold in the US since 2019 by Josie Azocar. Their products are perfect for the trans feminine folks in your life who want pretty underwear that actually fits and works with their bodies.
New York Toy Collective creates amazing toys, but they also have cute accessories for folks who aren’t currently in the market for new silicone. This “defy categories” platypus brings me joy every time I see it — grab yours while they’re still in stock!
When you think of OhNut, you probably think of the OhNut — the wearable rings that can alleviate pain with deep penetration. But OhNut also makes this adorable mug, perfect for the person in your life who needs to subtly tell someone that no, they are not over-reacting, thank you very much. 30% of the sales from this mug go to the Endometriosis Foundation, too, so it’s like two gifts in one.
Afrosexology makes some beautiful shirts that I featured in last year’s gift guide, but this year is all about this simple baseball cap. I have a big head and am generally wary of hats, but this one is on my own personal wishlist — it’s got a clear message while also being subtly sex-positive, which is a win/win.
You’ve kissed Kiss Dating Goodbye buh-bye and burned your purity pledge card (or framed it for the laughs), and now you’re ready to tell the world about it. Erica Smith works primarily with folks who are recovering from purity culture — if that’s you, maybe you want a cute shirt about it!
Sorry, did you think you were done hearing about Peg the Patriarchy? Before it made an appearance on the Met Gala red carpet, Luna Matatas created a line of sex-positive gear with her trademarked phrase Peg the Patriarchy ™. If you want a shirt, mug, or bag from the original creator, Luna is the one to support! And if you’re not quite sure what Peg the Patriarchy actually means, she has some info about it in the listings.
This workbook has some how-to sections in it, but really, it’s a workbook to help you process and feel your way through submissiveness. It includes some great info, including on how to identify if a situation has become abusive. If you’re interested in exploring submission, this workbook can help you figure out where to start!
Okay, this mug ships from Russia, so it might take months to get to the US — but it’s handmade and amazing. They’re microwave and dishwasher safe, and the clitoral glans is even highlighted in gold.
The heading says “bowls that look like butts” but they’re also bowls that look like bellies and pubic mounds. Also, they’re adorable and chubby. I love them. These are handmade and can’t be microwaved, because they feature metal accents (don’t start a microwave fire, y’all). If bowls aren’t your thing, this ceramic artist also has other body-positive designs.
Every time I see a picture of this embroidery, I want to explode because it’s AMAZING AND I WANT IT. Seriously, if any of y’all want to mail this to me…be my guest. But you probably want it for yourself, and I can appreciate and understand that, too. This is the perfect gift for the sex educator or gynecologist in your life — it would make perfect office decor! This ships from the UK and is a one-of-a-kind piece, so grab yours ASAP.
Esther Perel created a dinner party game for those of us who like to just jump right into deep conversations. There are tons of cards (and you can take out the sex-focused ones if you don’t want to include them during a particular round of play). I own this game and can confirm that everyone who has played it has thoroughly enjoyed getting to be the center of attention and tell a story that no one may have heard before. The first run of this game sold out, so definitely snag it while it’s still available!
This bundle includes seven different items — including a waterproof vibrator with a travel-lock. Whether you’re actually a travel enthusiast or just like to have all your overnight gear ready at a moment’s notice, this bundle is for you. It features two types of water-based lubricant, a travel-size bottle of toy cleaner, the We-Vibe Tango X, a pair of soft, adjustable handcuffs, Allison Moon’s Getting It, an assortment of barrier methods, and a handmade Dopp kit with a wipeable liner.
Still haven’t found the perfect gift? Don’t forget to check out the 2020 gift guide for 32 more fantastic options. And if you’re considering buying toys for someone this holiday season, you can book a consult call with me to help you find the best options for them!