Is it 2020 yet? Celebrate our inch-by-inch movement toward the light with gifts from the heart and the conscience. You can also direct your holiday glad tidings toward any of the worthy nonprofit providers and advocates in our Wish List.
Gifting With Class: Are you confident Texas lawmakers will have the temperament and discipline to enact real school finance reform when they convene at the Capitol in January? Neither are we! So our public school teachers can look forward to lacking resources for another two years. Help them out with a gift card to the webstore Teachers Pay Teachers, where teachers sell lesson plans to each other. You'll help one with a little extra holiday scratch and another by saving them the time they'd spend on another word problem. www.teacherspayteachers.com/gift-card.
Get Right to the F'in Point: It's about time someone put out some anti-MAGA merch that doesn't beat around the bush. Whether trying to amuse like-minded relatives or annoy the other ones, "Fuck Trump" holiday ornaments from comedienne Kathy Griffin's online shop are sure to spark a conversation. The shop also has T-shirts (some in tiny type, marked "discreet"), mugs, beanies, and keychains. Any of them would be a perfect gift for the foul-mouthed and politically minded in your life. www.store.kathygriffin.com.
Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. Make sense of the Trump/Russia collusion scandal, the Mueller investigation, and the spiderweb of criminal relationships adorning the Trump White House. Michael Isikoff (Yahoo! News) and David Corn (Mother Jones) provide an encyclopedia of Trump's Russian connections dating back to his New York real estate deals. The book is not exhaustive – too much has happened since its spring 2018 publication – but the authors have stayed on the story. This one-volume guidebook is an antidote to flaming headline disease.
Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. Also useful as a Baedeker is Luke Harding's 2017 book, which benefits from the initial reporting on the "dossier" that helped trigger federal investigations – much of which has been steadily confirmed. Harding (The Guardian) is also good on Trump's relationship with recently raided Deutsche Bank, and he has since reported on apparent meetings between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Julian Assange of Wikileaks. Stay tuned for sequels.
Sexual Healing: In the year of #MeToo, Kavanaugh, and Austin's own sordid history with sexual assault, there's no better time to celebrate consensual sex positivity with a locally made, women-produced, feminist nudie mag. Kelly Dugan and Laura McNairy created Peach Fuzz as a "shameless celebration" of sex and art, to inspire "healthy and open conversations" about "healthy and open sex" to make a "healthy and open culture." www.peachfuzzmag.com.
Hear Us Roar: So we didn't turn Texas blue in November, but we'll keep mixing up a nice purple hue with gifts from Annie's List for the politically minded, self-identifying women in our lives. The Texas-based group, founded in 2003, offers a variety of trainings – from Candidate 101 to Annie U – to get progressive women ready to run and be elected to office. www.annieslist.com/programs.
Hit the Pitch: The details of how Austin will get its Major League Soccer team are still unclear, but Austin FC hopes that won't stop you from stocking up on merch. "Grow the legend" with shirts, hoodies, and hats available in a variety of styles and sizes on the team's newly opened Fanatics shop. Bonus: Wear your gear around town to annoy everyone who supported IndyAustin's snakebit effort to derail the McKalla Place stadium deal. Win-win! www.austinfc.fanatics.com.
No Place Like Hope: Improve your chances of political and emotional survival by reaching out to help others less fortunate. The Central Texas Food Bank serves 21 counties and many thousands of people in need. Through Dec. 31, your donation will be matched by the Beaumont Foundation and Texas Jacobson Aviation. www.centraltexasfoodbank.org.
Helping Neighbors Out: Merge shopping with giving, with a turn around the Community First! Village Market (open weekdays, 10am-3pm, and Sat., 8:30am-1:30pm, at 9301 Hog Eye Rd. in East Austin). Proceeds from the jewelry, cards, coasters, cutting boards, and other handmade trinkets for sale go to the (formerly homeless) residents who made them. You'll find each artist's signature on a card attached to the gift. The village also hosts regular art shows featuring paintings, ceramics, and other artwork done on-site. Or spend nothing at all: Take the family out for a holiday volunteer day. With tasks in the the garden, forge, art house, and woodshop to choose from, there's a fit for everyone. www.mlf.org/community-works.
With fake news and threats to press freedom abounding in the Trump era, make sure your friends and loved ones stay in touch with reality with local news subscriptions to the Texas Observer, Austin Monitor, Texas Monthly, or Austin American-Statesman, or with a supporting membership in The Texas Tribune or KUT-FM. Love your local alternative weekly the most? Wear your heart on your sleeve, literally, with a Chronicle T-shirt. Purchase Chrongear, also including bandannas and tote bags, online at austinchronicle.com/gift-guide.
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