During the past several years for a multitude of reasons, the way we shop for the holidays and pick out the perfect holiday gift has infinitely changed. With Cyber Monday sometimes offering better sales than in-person marathons on Black Friday, Instinct has carefully curated a Holiday Gift Guide that should give you the ability to check off every nice (and most definitely naughty) person on your list. These businesses are all LGBTQ owned and operated, and will definitely appreciate your website clicks and Instagram-likes.
With a goal of being the “Fenty of Swimwear”, Chris Turk (the founder of the eponymous Chris Turk Swimwear), is designing for beach bodies of every size and shape. This year, he continued to branch out into super cute hoodies and cozy sweatshirts with cheeky turns of phrase like Pretty Gay or Hello Gorgeous on them. With inspirations for the collection coming from “70’s disco with a mix of glamorous jewel tones and retro colors & prints”, an item from this collection is the perfect item for your favorite beach baby to find under the tree.
If the past two years has taught the owner of Confections Of A Rock Star anything, it would resilience and the ability to pivot. From setting up the program Hey Buddy to donate to front line workers to showcasing other local small businesses online in What’s Up AP, Kimmee Masi continues to be one of the most prominent (and sweetest) businesses in the LGBTQ enclave of Asbury Park. Items like the Vinage 77′ cookies or the delectable French macaroons would be the perfect host gift for holiday parties you might be attending this season.
Drag performers are known to have found inventive ways to market their merch, but dMart Gear has perfected the art of showcasing the dynamic performers along with their swag. Founded in 2017, Danny Martinez & Chuck Migliore have launched several lines of merchandise, including one specializing in the bear community (aptly titled ‘Bearified Gear’) as well another for those looking to outfit their favorite four-legged friend. They’ve fostered amazing partnerships with a number of drag performers, working with the likes of Harmonica Sunbeam, Anida Tension & Magnolia Applebottom and helping launch their own custom-made merchandise collections. Whether you are looking for a one of a kind item like a clack fan or muscle tank or to support your favorite drag performer, dMart is the one-stop shop to pop into.
While candle launches between Real Housewives of Potomac castmates consist of battles between one wick vs three wick options, Sociale founder Alex Cesarini is ensuring that his “hand poured with love” from Jersey City, NJ candles are truly one of a kind. Launched during the pandemic and with candle names like ‘The Ma’ (released-when else-for Mother’s Day) and a Pride collection that showcased several different LGBTQ locales, the brand is now expanding into other types of merch like sweatsuit sets and hoodies (with collections with cleverly titled names like The Boyfriend Collection). As the brand prepares potential partnerships with other LGBTQ businesses, items like Hipster or Bro candle remain the perfect stocking toe stuffer.
Queer bookstores have been meeting places, safe spaces, and the spots that helped inspire revolution. As they continue to be in decline (not helped by the recent pandemic) it is absolutely crucial that we continue to support these essential spaces for our LGBTQ+ community. Thankfully, people like Hannah Oliver Depp are keeping these crucial cultural spaces alive. At Loyalty Bookstore, Depp (a Black and Queer Bookseller) “has spent her career working to diversify the book industry in order for it to better serve the powerful communities of color and queerness” works to showcase emerging authors as well as shine a spotlight onto the classics that sometimes time has forgotten that are crucial to newer readers. Not only are gift cards and online shopping both available, but Loyalty recently launched the Loyalty Leap Of Faith Subscription Box, a quarterly box that features one book by a BIPOC, Queer, Disabled, or marginalized writer that is currently emerging in the publishing world
Known to their legions of fans for their massively popular OnlyFans content and litany of side projects, Rick & Griff’s website offers items like calendars, onesies, and of course, a plethora of adult content, perfect for the little devil on your wish list (the playing cards are the perfect adult stocking stuffer)! A gift that requires no wrapping at all would be a membership to their OnlyFans or JustForFans pages, which continue to provide adult content with plenty of special guests featured, and a production value that is close to unmatched in the adult industry today.
The holidays would be nothing without a moderate amount of sweets; that’s where Don’t Touch My Cookies comes in. The brainchild of bear-tastic actor Paolo Andino, Don’t Touch My Cookies was inspired many years ago when Andino lived in New York City. In an effort to craft the “perfect cookie”, Andino revisited the idea during the pandemic and launched the brand in full force. With social media savvy Liza on board as his business partner, Andino for the first time, created a guava and chocolate chip cookie which has shown to be a brisk seller. Don’t Touch My Cookies are the perfect holiday treat if you’re looking to offer a little sweetness to someone on your holiday gift list like a teacher or your favorite administrative professional.
The concept of strict gender rules are continuing to slowly be dismantled, and that is in no small part due to companies like BOITOI. With a mission of creating a “world filled with people being true to themselves”, this slick nail paint company has a School Spirit line with scholastic-type names like Homecoming and Art Club. BOITOI has also partnered up with TikTok’s Mr. Williams, who has crafted his own nail polish with 10% of sales going to Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, PA. A stocking stuffer that gives back is most definitely a reason to “Pre-K Pause” and grab a couple colors for your favorite little elf.
Like the Grinch himself says, “It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags”. This year, charities and organizations that give back and support the LGBTQ+ community can always use our help. Whether it’s New Jersey’s Garden State Equality (the largest LGBTQ advocacy and educational organization), The Trevor Project (the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth) or God’s Love We Deliver (which cooks and delivers meals to people living with illness) these organization can use not just our financial contributions, but also our time. Head over to these organizations website and volunteer your time this holiday season.