“Self-Gifting”, Or As Non-Sociopaths Call It: Shopping

 by Emily Neeland



It's that time of year again when families and friends gather round to celebrate the winter solstice by maxing out their credit cards in an effort to purchase the continued affections of those they hold dear. Holiday shoppers put careful consideration into finding the perfect gifts to show their loved ones how much they truly care. In order to find the most important recipient of this generosity fever, you need look no further than the closest of your several mirrors. That's right, Dummy. It's you!

Sure, it's nice to display your wealth to others by getting them fancy things. We all know love isn't going to buy itself! But why not shine that light of benevolence inward? Think of Christmas as a Second Birthday. A special day set aside each year to lavish yourself with material things because you've been good and you deserve it. Or you've been bad and you just want it. Who's counting really? According to the National Retail Federation, 6 out of every 10 shoppers plan to spend an average of $139.92 on “self-gifting” this holiday season.

This uptick in egocentric altruism is not without merit. Suppose you leave things to chance and rely solely on the thoughtfulness of your inner circle to get you the gifts you most desire. Either one of two things will happen: you tell them what to get you or they get you the wrong thing. Is it possible that these loved ones know you well enough to get you something you did not ask for that will still meet your standards of excellence? No it is not.

Best case scenario: they got you the right digital camera, but in the wrong color. So now you're stuck with some ridiculous purple point-and-shoot, because the thought of obtaining a receipt and wrangling with the task of exchanging this nonsense gift is just too much. Hassle City, Population: YOU.

You find yourself at a crossroads. Be seen as a demanding jerk who does not trust their own friends' judgment, or be forced to feign delight as you unwrap whatever monstrosity they found when left to their own devices. Keep playing fast and loose like that, and you could end up the proud new owner of an owl-shaped shower caddy. Or worse yet: something they made themselves. What are we pilgrims?

“But my friends really get me,” you might be saying to yourself. Nope. Incorrect. Nobody really “gets” anybody. We are all just meatsacks of solitude floating in the abyss. Any evidence to the contrary is nothing more than a glitch in the matrix. Make your peace with that and free yourself from the burden of expectation.

Some people may find the act of self-gifting to be a greedy and foolhardy endeavor. Jealous haters is all they are. But, as a denizen of this society filled with judgmental naysayers, one must abide by a certain code of discretion when practicing the art of possession attainment. You can go about this one of two ways. The first option is to buy yourself some gifts and not tell anyone about it. While this is the simpler of the solutions, it is nowhere near as theatrical as the second option: concocting a fictitious secret admirer.

This would involve leaving and/or mailing self-gifted packages for yourself at your home or place of employment. Wait until other people are around and make a big show of opening these gifts. You'll want to attach cards that read “From Your Secret Admirer” to really sell the whole thing. If possible, make a point to shove any gifts from actual friends out of the way and loudly exclaim how good it feels that at least one person out there really knows you well.