I’m the only person in my family who truly adores Christmas. I love it so much that, long after growing up and leaving the nest, I continue to participate in all the key Christmas traditions completely by choice. My house has never been without a Christmas tree of some kind — even when I lived in a gloomy one-room studio in Harlem, and the tree was like 12 inches tall.
What is it about Christmas that I love so much? I’m not religious, after all, and I’m not very into consumerism. But simply put, I LOVE traditions. (I’m a Taurus, I can’t help it.) I love recreating the traditions from my past with an eye towards my future — a future full of gayness and anti-capitalism and therapy and self-love and healthy boundaries and pretty lights and gifts. I love the idea of co-creating these new traditions with my chosen family, whether that be roommates or best friends or a girlfriend.
If you, too, are interested in reworking holiday traditions to be as cute and gay and cozy as possible, here are some ideas.
Bake holiday cookies. Holiday cookies combine two of the best parts of the holiday: indulgent treats and festivity. You can also customize your holiday cookie selection to feature your favorite imagery from the holiday season — snowmen, candy canes, or stars. Alternatively, make them not-quite-holiday-related at all. Rainbow cookies! Animal cookies! Maybe I’m biased, but you should probably make at least one batch of holiday cookies in the shape of your dog or cat.
Homemade hot cocoa. Winter isn’t complete without a batch of hot cocoa. But listen: You can do so much better than that pre-made stuff that comes in a packet (no shade). Have you ever tried making your own hot cocoa? It’s easier than you might think! All you really need for a lazy version is unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar. To make it more interesting, you can add all sorts of other ingredients. Add dark chocolate chips for a richer chocolatey texture. Try a spicy Mexican-style version or a rose-flavored Persian take. And of course, whipped cream, marshmallows, and/or a spike of alcohol are always good options.
Make traditional Christmas cocktails. Speaking of holiday beverages: Do not underestimate alcoholic holiday beverages! Pick one and make it your new thing. I personally am partial to mulled wine, because duh, wine. Served warm, it consists of red wine, citrus, honey, and warm spices, such as cinnamon and star anise. Other alcoholic holiday beverages include eggnog (the alcoholic kind), glogg, wassail, coquito, or hot buttered rum.
Lesbian holiday movies. Maybe every holiday, you and your pals/girlfriend can curl up and watch some queer or lesbian holiday movies together. There aren’t a ton to choose from (thanks, heteronormativity). But if you know where to look, there are a few great choices. This year’s “Season of Love” is like a “Love Actually” holiday rom-com for lesbians, “Carol” is literally a lesbian holiday classic, and “Lez Bomb” is a holiday coming out story (technically about Thanksgiving but still holiday-themed). There are also some new holiday rom-coms with lesbian storylines like Netflix’s “Let It Snow.”
New holiday music. I love belting out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” as much as the next girl, but we’re talking about new traditions here, honey. How about some brand new queer Christmas songs, like this sweet ballad, “Before This Christmas Ends” by singer-songwriter beccs? Other queer holiday tunes include “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion, “Winter Wonderland” by Janelle Monae, and “I Feel the Christmas Spirit” by the Indigo Girls. Or if you love trap music like I do, how ’bout Gucci Mane’s “East Atlanta Santa”?!?! Make a playlist and fill your house with queer holiday joy.
Decorate the house. Want to really gay it up this Christmas? Take some inspiration from this enthusiastic ally and cover your house from top to bottom with rainbow Christmas lights. You could also go with a reindeer theme, or snowflakes, or whatever you like — the options are limitless, but decorating the house together can be a great bonding experience and it really helps bring the Christmas cheer.
Go see the lights. You may not be able to go ALL OUT with your own home decor for Christmas, but it’s always fun to see how other folks are lighting up the neighborhood. Cruise around to find the houses with the best displays! Check the ritzy parts of town — they usually do the most.
Read books. If you’re one of those adorable lesbian couples who like to read to each other, first of all, THAT IS CUTE. Second of all, maybe you could read a queer holiday romance this season. Lucky for you, there seem to be more lesbian holiday romances in book form than movie form. For example: “Mangos & Mistletoe” by Adriana Herrera is about two queer Dominican bakers. “The Wrong McElroy” by K.L. Hughes is one of those fluffy rom-coms where a fake girlfriend plot goes wrong, and “Under a Falling Star” by Jae is about a work romance.
Make ornaments. If you usually put up a Christmas tree, a great new tradition is to start making or collecting meaningful ornaments to keep over the years. This is an especially sweet tradition to start with folks who you’re building a life with. If you want to make your own, the internet is full of cool tutorials. It’s easier than it seems and the possibilities are endless. Or you could invest in a custom ornament from Etsy.
Matching Christmas pajamas. I’m sorry, but I think it’s beyond adorable when couples or families all wear matching Christmas pajamas. Turn the corniness up to 1000, please. The pajamas can be as over-the-top (all-over candy canes print) or chill (red flannel) as you please. Most pajamas that come in “couples” or “family” versions are for cis-hetero couples, so you’re better off just finding one pair of pajamas that comes in sizes to fit both of you. May I recommend Old Navy or Target for this? Cute patterns, comfy, and cheap.
Make Christmas stockings. Stockings are an essential part of Christmas for most families that grow up celebrating the holiday. But for childless adults, this part often gets skipped over. No more, I say! Reaching in and finding those stocking stuffers is so fun, and plus, making your own stocking is fun. When I made my own last year, it was probably the first time that I’ve used glitter glue since I was 12 years old.
What are your most treasured, special Christmas traditions?