Americans increasingly stuff holiday stockings with gifts for themselves

The Washington Post:

They say it’s better to give than to receive, but They haven’t been to the mall lately.

Americans are doing more and more holiday shopping for themselves, data over the last decade show, even as planned gift-buying for family members has stayed steady (sorry friends and co-workers, your numbers are down).

The reasons are complicated, including a recession that’s transformed what used to be a magical few days of strolling past Santa-themed window displays into a weeks-long, competitive fire sale. But experts on consumer psychology say a major cultural shift has been building: It has now become acceptable — even necessary — to give ourselves treats and rewards all year long. We’re ripe for a new generation of ads like J. Crew’s “To: You, From: You,” or Bare Minerals’ “What’s your gift?”

Kit Yarrow, a Golden Gate University professor of business and psychology, said marketers have “hammered home the point that: ‘You deserve something.’ For previous generations, gratitude had a bigger role in gift-giving. People’s expectations of what they should have are different.” In her book “Gen Buy,” Yarrow focused on buyers in their 20s and teens and argued that the concept of giving yourself a present registers much differently for younger Americans.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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