Self-gifting is a fancy marketeers phrase for "spending the money you intended to spend on others on yourself". It's sort of like the post-recession version of maxing out your credit card where instead of simply spending more money you re-allocate the funds you'd initially meant to go towards your Grandad's new slippers/ your Mum's pyjamas on, oops, on a new pair of shoes. In the US, self-gifting is expected to account for 20% of festive season spending, rising to 35-40% on Black Friday and the following weekend.
Perhaps calling it self-gifting is one of those delusory tactics which makes us feel a bit better about what is essentially splashing out on one of the many, many tempting things shops cram themselves with at this time of year and which we are supposed to buy for our nearest and dearest, rather than ourselves. Part of the 'problem' is that you are so easy to buy for. This morning, Kate Brindley, Liberty's Head of Marketing and Communications, tweeted about the forthcoming Nicholas Kirkwood sample sale:
Nicholas Kirkwood sample sale coming soon! Perfect for self gifting! @NKirkwoodLondon @StarworksGroup pic.twitter.com/5mz1UXtRgA
Of course, the Nicholas Kirkwood sale is perfect for self-gifting because, unless you have a sister or a very generous best friend, nobody else in your gift-giving line-up is likely to make the effort to elbow into a sample sale and have the knack to pick out the gems. Self-gifting is all about the gifts only you can really give yourself. In a way self-gifted presents might be the most useful but do they take away the charm of the practical, comfy slippers you unwrap from your Auntie on Christmas morning?
Harvey Nichols are pinning all their Christmas hopes on the notion of self-gifting with their very funny "I spent it on myself" ad campaign. In fact, they see it as such a retail moment that they have produced a range of super cheap gifts like gravel for £1.61 or paperclips for 99p to give a tiny section of their store a bit of a Poundland vibe. You give these miserly gifts to your loved ones on Christmas morning as you stroke your new Givenchy bag or twirl in your Dolce and Gabbana party dress. The logical conclusion of the trend would be stuffing the whole "giving" concept and us all just gathering on the 25th December to show off the big purchases we've treated ourselves too in the last few weeks. Bit sad, no?