A Few Feminist Editorial Notes on My Childhood Christmas List

I recently dug up some of my childhood Christmas stuff — like my old stocking:

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That thing at the top is a mouse-reindeer made of pompoms. And on the front is a cross-stitched image of me with angel wings. Also, there’s a pocket edged in rick-rack. I defy you to find a better stocking in all the land.

My dad also found an actual Christmas list from when I was about 8. It’s pretty special to be able to go back in time and hear what little-me was into, if perhaps kind of weird, too. Here’s what I asked for, along with a few notes from my right-now self to my younger self:


Dear Santa,

How are you? May I please have these things for Christmas?

Good start, but remember, 8-year-old self: leaders make declarative statements. Too many question marks here! Upward inflection implies permission-seeking. You know what you want, girlboss — TELL Santa. 

1. More pencils

So you have pencils, but you want more pencils? YEAH, YOU DO. There are people who would have you believe this is greed, but they’re wrong. Don’t stop collecting pencils until you have as many pencils as the boy in your class with the most pencils, and then get one more pencil than that.


2. Barbie Style-Me Head

I know it’s hard to make ponytails, and it probably seems like it would be easier to practice on a model than on yourself. But this is a DISEMBODIED FEMALE HEAD ON A TRAY. What the real-life hell. 

3. Jewls

I think you mean “jewels,” in which case, let’s move this goal off your Santa-list and onto your give-it-to-yourself-list, because if you want a shiny thing, you should (a) probably wait until you’re older, and (b) save up for it with money earned from your job, where you have flexible hours and uterus-friendly benefits. Unless you mean “jowls,” in which case, THAT’S RIGHT — women should be allowed to age naturally without being held to warped expectations of eternal youth.

4. Nightgown with robe

I started to cross this out, because I didn’t want you to feel like you had to conform to traditionally feminine wardrobe norms ‘round the clock, as if even in your dreams you might have to ride side-saddle on your talking unicorn. But you know what? Wear what you want. Footie pajamas might be more practical, but hey — your body, your choice. 

Thank you!

I’d suggest a more assertive closing such as, “I think I’ve made myself clear.”

PS: Hi to the reindeer.

That’s nice. Animals need a voice in this world.

Overall, this is excellent work, small-me. A little more effort will take this draft from good to great. I am proud of you, and I have great faith in your future, even though I know through the magic of time travel that you’re going to get a terrible perm in five years. Hang in there. In short: Keep speaking up, fuck the patriarchy, and stay awesome. 

 * * *

Meanwhile: Hello to everyone who’s here to see “How to Be a Ladyperson at the Holidays” — you can find it here. In a strange and delightful turn of events, it was also featured on the evening news in Philadelphia this week:

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I do not live in Philly, but I like how they interpret the term “news.” Thank you, Channel 6! Anyway, you might also enjoy some similar pieces, like these:

PS: Remember, if you still need stocking stuffers, there is hope:

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Ho ho ho!


  1. Good editing, but hey, she seemed an overall nice & spunky kid – (being nice to grownups was good policy in those days 🙂 The jewls were probably a bit early in the game, but you’ve reminded me how comfy footie pyjamas used to be!

  2. Forget the head – I wanted the entire My Size Barbie. Never got it. And now as a parent, I see these stupid toys that I won’t spend the money on for my kid. My how the times have changed.

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