The Art (and Science!) of Self-Gifting

Many of us are cutting to the chase and simply buying gifts for ourselves this season, according to the market research. 'Tis the season for getting yourself a little something, apparently.

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It happens to the best (worst?) of us. Armed with a list of friends and family and coworkers and whomever else we happen to be generous enough to buy holiday gifts for, we make our way through rowdy, grasping crowds of shoppers and people dressed as elves and those tireless perfume-spritzers. We are determined, self-righteous, with a strong sense of purpose. We are Christmas shopping! Our eyes light upon the perfect gift for Rick, or Marlena, except, oh, man, you know who that gift is really perfect for? Ourselves. And so we buy one for Rick, one for Marlena, and one for ourselves. Or we forget about Rick and Marlena (because this gift is sort of expensive; we'll find something more affordable for those two, they're not even really close friends) and just buy the thing, take it home, and love it forever—or at least for a day or two until the regret sets in—because it is exactly what we wanted. 

If you have not done this (I did this this very weekend), you are a better shopper than most of us, according to a piece by Joseph B. White on the Wall Street Journal's Corporate Intelligence blog. (Did you know it's just two weeks until Christmas? Buy something for yourself, now!) Market research company NPD Group Inc.'s chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen says that "self-gifting" is "a prime driver of shopping grown this year," and that, according to surveys, while 12 percent of shoppers bought gifts for themselves during the holidays in that long-ago time before the recession, and last year 19 percent of shoppers were self-gifting, this year “already we have seen 32 percent of consumers who have self-gifted.”

Also, according to White's stats from the National Retail Federation, "consumers are expected to spend the most on non-gift items in the survey’s 10-year history. Six in 10 shoppers (59.0%) plan to spend an average of $139.92 on 'self-gifting' this holiday season." So you're in good/deplorable company!

Blame the Internet. Blame Black Friday. Blame the encroaching lack of morals and increasing self-absorption condemned in this modern age. Blame marketers and merchandisers wanting to entice you with the best deals ever. Is it really O.K. to shop for yourself when you should be shopping for others, even if there are really, really, good deals? Oh, well, let's leave off questions of etiquette and "morals" for another day. This is all about efficiency, really. Cut Santa out of the equation, no need for a middle-man here. Plus, economic stimulation! We're all doing our part, with no need to return an ugly sweater or a book we've already read, because who in the world knows what you want and need more than you do? That's right: No one. How holly-jolly.

Image via Shutterstock by Alliance.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.