2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Andy Lien
KRUPS Savoy 12-Cup Thermal ET351
The newest coffee maker on the market features a thermal carafe, which purportedly keeps coffee warm for up to four hours, but my road testing has had me sipping still-warm coffee the morning after. I’m not proud of this, I’m proud of the coffee maker. And, because there’s no burner for it to languish upon, there’s no burner taste, whether one or 21 hours after brewing. Win-win. And it’s not glass, so there’s one less thing for me to worry about dropping on my concrete loft floors. After all, I get a little clumsy when under-caffeinated. Setting the coffee to brew the night before doesn’t mean I’m any more coordinated as I reach for the pot.
Beekman 1802 Specialty Food Club
The Beekman Boys have a food empire that is oh-so-easy to send to your favorite people, or yourself. Discover new artisanal, small batch gourmet food items like fruitcake stuffing, fudge sauces, pasta, and Blaak drizzle. Join the Beekman Specialty Food Club and you’ll receive a surprise box of delicious and totally exclusive new gourmet food items every month. Plus recipes straight from the artisans themselves! It’s a great way to try new Beekman products, or share with a friend. Or hoard. I’d probably hoard.
Monthly, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month options available
Assorted Chocolate Dragees from Rozsavolgyi Csokolade
Delicious caramelized hazelnuts sprinkled with ginger, caramelized coffee beans sprinkled with paprika, and caramelized salted almonds; all covered with Venezuelan dark chocolate.
Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Holidrizzle Flavors
I can’t be trusted around kettle corn. That Angie’s out of Mankato packages it up and makes it so easy for me to grab is my favorite kind of enabling. This season, they’ve got something to make our days be merry and bright: dark chocolaty sea salt, frosted sugar cookie, and white chocolate and peppermint Holidrizzle kettle corn flavors. And I want to thank the Lunds & Byerly’s on Hennepin for introducing it to me for a 2/$6 price tag, it’s sure to be something I’ll use as auxiliary snacks for entertaining this season. Okay, and breakfast, lunch, and supper.
The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking
This is one of my favorite shows that I watch on Netflix. Community member Sue Perkins is an absolute delight with the rest of the team of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, and Sue’s comedy partner, Mel Giedroyc, as well as all the earnest competitors. I admit it, I ordered this one for myself knowing that I’d get it, page through it, and probably put it down to just admire from afar. Not only are the baked items really gorgeous and daunting, but the math and measurement conversions would do me in. So, perhaps for Christmas, what I really want is someone to go through my book and write in what everything would be in cups and tablespoons.
There’s something about having a collection of mugs that speaks to who we are. My collection includes Wonder Woman, one from my alma mater, a “Keep Calm and Carry On,” a few thrown by some friends who are potters, and other ones picked up along the way at significant times. They’re universal as gifts and great for both stocking stuffers or office presents. OK, not all of these. It depends on your coworkers, I guess.
Great Gays Heat Changing Mug
What looks to be a mug of closed doors becomes a delightful history lesson when you pour in a hot beverage and 14 of the world’s most famous gays proudly emerge. Michelangelo, Michel Foucault, Freddie Mercury; talk about star bucks! And there’s also Willa Cather, Tchaikovsky, Sappho, Alan Turing, Audre Lorde, Yukio Mishima, and Gertrude Stein.
Trans Logo Mug
This attractive mug is simultaneously coded and out in the open with the logo of the trans community on the side. If you know, you know. And that’s a mighty powerful position to be in, particularly as you drink your coffee and prepare for the day ahead.
Find on Etsy: MacMcCuskerCeramics
My gift guides usually stray more toward the experiences than the actual gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love wrapping presents and I love opening presents, but experiences are something I particularly revel in, so that’s what I’ll stick to here.
Miss Richfield 1981’s 17th Annual Holiday Show
Miss Richfield 1981 is running for governor in her all new show, From the Trailer House to the State House – Santa Style! For her 17th annual holiday show, Miss R will prove why she’ll be Minnesota’s best commander-in-chiffon, laying out her platform in side-splitting songs, very funny videos and getting the audience involved. You know, I’ve been involved in one of Miss R’s shows and I can say that I had just as much fun on stage (in a pink poncho with a Hello Kitty clock and Miss Richfield yelling in my ear) as I did from my seat with the rest of the fine folks. It’s a rollicking good time, not to mention my favorite sing-along of the year. She’s a state treasure, why not make it official with a mansion too?
Starting at $32
Jessamyn Stanley’s EveryBody Yoga Class
“Queer fat femme yogi,” Jessamyn Stanley, is someone I was following on Instagram for visual inspiration. When I found out I could actually follow her yogi ways in an online yoga package via Cody, I jumped at the chance. EveryBody yoga is for larger-bodied people and it is a gentle and powerful reminder that yoga is for everybody. Movement is for everybody. Peace is for everybody. Buy this for yourself or someone else in your life.
Love Warrior: A Memoir
You may not be up on the news, but confessional-mom-writer, Glennon Doyle Melton, is now dating Abby Wambach. Okay, anybody dating Abby Wambach is a big stinking deal, but particularly a writer who’s been a major voice for women, mothers, Christians, addicts, and people with eating disorders. I would’ve recommended you read this memoir of Glennon’s anyhow, but now that we know she’s part of the ever-growing community, perhaps we’ll all read her words with even more relatability than before, if that’s even possible.
Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum
Not only do I love nighttime light events (like Northern Spark each June), but being able to roam around a space usually only accessible in the daylight is a real treat. Bruce Munro is an internationally acclaimed artist and has created stunning installations around the globe. This exhibit at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska features six large-scale installations (five outdoor, one indoor) plus a series of immersive, sensory audio-visual animations. The exhibit runs through April 9 so I may go and see it a few times, depending on whether there’s snow surrounding the installations or not. Each experience is bound to be different.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Christmas with Cantus
I was fortunate enough to attend the history-making concert at Orchestra Hall featuring Cantus and Chanticleer this fall. What an epic night, celebrating the music and voices of men in all of the variety and diversity imaginable. But I swelled with hometown pride whenever Cantus was on stage. Their membership overlaps our community, their songs are inclusive, their concerts are lively. Be sure to see them this holiday season. With poignant and humorous readings set to beautiful underscoring, the annual Christmas With Cantus weaves a fresh concert out of the familiar and the new, as well as music from across centuries, including the beloved “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl.
$20–$40 Adults / $10 Students with valid ID
One of the things that takes me out of the holiday cheer and makes me remarkably bah-humbuggy is the lack of attractive mass-produced cards out there for the rainbow community. So, as usual, let’s flock to the independent folks who do good work and are responsive to what we want and the need to express ourselves and our lives. Like these cards.
Deck the Halls with Gay Reindeer
Who doesn’t love a gay reindeer with Norwegian sweater snowflake patterns in rainbow colors? Fa la la la la la la la la. Clearly.
Here’s one that lets you tell your moms or your dads that you love them “snow much” at Christmas time. Heartwarming, but hopefully not snow-melting.
Instead of the Village People, we’ve got the gingerbread people! Guys, gals, and leather…Corrie Kuipers has designed some cards to mail out to your friends and loved ones that represent you and your holidays.
$1.39–$3.50/card depending on quantity
Super Hero Christmas
Who’s who in your relationship? Catwoman and Wonder Woman are under the mistletoe and making Christmas a little hotter.
$3.30 available as digital download
Find on Etsy.com: ProyectoAlegria
Whenever I picture Santa’s elves, I see them as happy, dancing people. It never occurred to me that they might also be in love. This vintage card is adorable with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Find on Etsy.com: inyourownwordsllc
You know what might be harder to find than same-sex holiday cards? Biracial same-sex holiday cards. So, finding this gem makes me as joyful as the women in the image. Find a river that you can skate away on, ladies.
Find on Etsy.com: Huggitos
Merry Chrizmas or Holidayz
Not everything same-sexy requires couples and love. So, whether you want to wish a merry Christmas or the more broad season of the holidays, Liza’s got you covered. With a “Z.” And a whole lot of attitude, just how we like it.
Find on Etsy.com: seasandpeas
I’m a sucker for subversion. Nutcrackers holding hands and making eyes at each other makes me very happy. Give them their space on the mantle, they’ve earned it.
Find on Etsy.com: gatamago