There are so many reasons to love the holidays. Families and loved-ones coming together, peace on earth, good will toward men, self-gifting…self-gifting?
I’m not sure how I missed it before but the phrase “self-gifting” is new to me. Just the phrase, mind you – NOT the concept. As a child, I watched as my dad would hand new but deeply discounted ratchet sets that he purchased from Sears to my mother and say:
“Hey Catholic, will you wrap this up and put it under the tree for me? It’s from Santa.”
As I think about it, he may be considered an early pioneer in this self-gifting phenomenon.
That was the 70’s. In 2012, giving to your own self is actually predicted to supersede giving to others around the holidays. The U.S. National Retail Foundation’s annual holiday consumer spending survey cited that consumers are expected to spend the most on non-gift, I mean “self-gift” items for the first time in the survey’s 10-year history.
One for you and one, two, three for me!!!
Isn’t there supposed to be something wrong with that? Isn’t it supposed to be better to give than to receive? Or is it possible that it is actually better to self-give, then give-give just a little bit less?
A 1990 article in the Journal of Consumer Research explored the concept. Among their findings: “…self-gifts are a form of personally symbolic self-communication through special indulgences that tend to be premeditated and highly context bound.”
If I may venture a translation on behalf of some of my fellow Americans filling their own stockings this holiday season:
“highly context bound” = I got a job.
“premeditated” = After not having one for a while.
“personally symbolic self-communication through special indulgence” = Every time I wear this blouse, swing this golf club, rev this car engine, watch this TV, sit on this couch or open this ratchet set, I will be reminded of what I have overcome.
A different kind of spirit led giving...but spirit led, none the less.
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Not a "hell of a deal" by some people's standards but a discount, nonetheless.
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