Getting Gifty for Selfie

To thine own self be gifty.

Wait, did I just write that?

Well, no, actually, it wasn’t me.

It was the discount retail website

They’re not the only ones promoting the Santa Claus Selfie. When you buy a $25 gift card at Booster Juice before Dec. 31, you instantly get a free Booster Juice smoothie to drink on the spot. A gift card for the giftee, a smoothie for yourselfie.

Many other retailers and eateries are enticing Christmas shoppers with the same deal.

After all, you can’t be too good, or too gifty, to thine own self, can thee?

(An aside: Have you ever noticed how the word “pamper” is usually followed by “yourself.” There’s even a spa in British Columbia that brazenly calls itself Pamper Yourself Spa.)

Sure, there’s something to be said for being good to yourself and taking care of yourself.

But, um, isn’t Christmas traditionally more about giving unto others rather than getting gifty for selfie?

About the only thing to say in defense of this trend is what MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends wrote about Christmas presents: “Please, if you know me, do not buy me anything. Please give the money instead to someone who needs it….if I wanted something, I would already own it.”

He claims too much money is wasted at Christmas on giving people things they don’t need and don’t want.

It’s true that when we buy something for ourselves, we either want it or need it or both. We’re more pleased, too, when we’re gifted with something we’ve said we really want than when we get a present the giver guesses we’d like.

A researcher at Stanford University found that recipients appreciated receiving items from their wish list more than unsolicited items. They even perceived the requested items to be more thoughtful and considerate gifts.

“When it comes to gift giving, most people are simply not paying enough attention to what others want,” says Frank Flynn, professor of business at Stanford. “They miss the boat by ignoring direct requests, wrongly assuming that going a different route will be seen as more thoughtful than something the recipient specifically requested.”

It’s this disconnect that can lead to disappointment and fake, insincere thank-you’s on Christmas morning. Also to re-gifting.

Another study found that a specific request for something brought better results than providing a list. “Givers seem to be relatively more receptive to a specific suggestion than to a list,”  which may be important for us to note if we want to give others clear advice on what gifts to get for us,” says Flynn.

Finally,  his research found that recipients actually appreciated money more than any item they initially requested — even though givers assumed money would be the least favored gift.

The money, of course, funds the Santa Claus Selfie.

It can also be slipped into the Salvation Army’s kettle.