Who doesnâ€™t justify an extravagant purchase with line â€œI treated myself?â€ A form of self-indulgence, this phenomenon has been termed by scholars as â€œself giving.â€ Â Although much research focuses on how the relationship between the giver and receiver adds additional meaning to the gift-giving process, there have also been inquiries into â€œself-gifts.â€Â Â Â
There does seem to be a gray area between a gift purchased for oneself and an item purchased for personal use. Itâ€™s hard to define whether stopping off to buy a bouquet of flowers to adorn the dinner table is an indulgence or merely an article purchased for everyday use.
Some reasons behind self-giving include to relieve stress, to spend extra money and to provide incentive to reach a goal. Rewarding oneself for a particular milestone or past behavior is one of the biggest justification for self-gifts. Getting a promotion at work, finishing a term paper or a long project are just a few examples of situations that may generate this mindset. Other reasons for self-giving include to cheer one up when he or she is down or to celebrate a holiday, such as a birthday.
By terming something a gift to oneself, scholars have found that a person attempts to reconcile the guilt felt because of the often extravagant expense and the delight over finally obtaining the item. Additionally, self-gifts were found to be a more socially accepted action in Western cultures as compared to those in the East.
Â Self-gifts can at times have a sacrificial element, similar to one of the characteristics of an ideal gift between two people.Â By purchasing a new car, a person may have to forgo eating out every week or taking a weekend trip somewhere.Â
Source:Â John F. Sherry and Eileen Fischer, ed., “Explorations in Consumer Culture Theory,” London, Routledge, 2009.