Whether you celebrate it or not, there is no escaping the Christmas tide that swells across America the second Thanksgiving Thursday flips to Black Friday.
I, like many of you, will not be going home to see family and friends this year, as a necessary precaution to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of dwelling on unhappy circumstances, however, I am eagerly shopping online for gifts to send to loved ones.
I love shopping, but seriously dislike spending money. For these reasons, thrift shopping is a beautiful compromise for me. However, when it comes to shopping for gifts for others, I put my cheapness aside. In fact, I have a distinct tendency to go overboard. For example, in a past relationship, for our first Christmas (we’d only been together for like a month), I went out of my way to buy him a bottle of whiskey, an engraved decanter, and a few garnishes to make old fashioned cocktails. I definitely spent way too much money. I received a picture frame in return. There’s nothing wrong with this gift; the unbalance was just awkward.
Flashforward a few years later and I have not changed an ounce. I still have zero reservations about spending money for gifts for others despite my otherwise frugal ways. However, buying nice things for myself is still something that I am very hesitant about.
Recently, I went on a hike (I have been doing more of those lately) and thought it would be nice to have a new jacket. I do not need a new jacket, but I thought a specific one could be “nice” for casual hikes or just lounging around at home. So, I went online, searched through many sale items and could not find anything that excited me. Hesitantly, I moved my cursor over to the normal-priced items (gasp!) and cautiously clicked through different fleeces and hoodies. And, there it was! The perfect hoodie. It was red, which is out of my comfort zone, but I loved the texture and thought it was just what I needed to brighten up my wardrobe. Also, surprisingly, this item was half-priced! I could not believe my luck. Thinking it was too good to be true, I scrolled down to the product’s review section and I deflated.
Reviews were mixed. I sensed so much longing and regret in the comments. Buyers expressed how much they wanted to like this particular hoodie, but they could not enjoy it because the material sheds so much that it gets fuzzy bits all over everything it touches.“Noooo,” I thought. “You must be exaggerating,” I pleaded internally. But there were too many comments corroborating the story to ignore the truth — this was not a quality product. No wonder the manufacturer significantly reduced the price! Dejected, I continued my search and to find a “second-best” item.
I scrolled upon a hoodie that I was also very fond of, however, instead of red, this one was offered in white, beige, and two shades of gray. Not the most fun colors, but, admittedly more my style. The biggest drawback for me, however, was the price. Gulp. Let’s just say it was way more than I was willing to pay for an unnecessary hoodie. I searched and searched for coupons and discounts online but could find nothing. I waffled for hours about whether to buy it and at the end of the day, I said that I would wait until morning. But then, as if in response to my prayers, my cries for a coupon were answered.
In another post, I discussed how I am a part of a few different “giving” groups on Facebook (more here). Well, on this particular day in this particular group, someone was offering a coupon to Dick’s Sporting Goods for $20 off. The hoodie I was interested in, also happened to be sold at Dick’s, so I jumped on the offer and requested the coupon code. The woman offering the coupon responded to me quickly on Facebook Messenger to send me the details. I had my answer! I was buying myself a hoodie or so I thought….
It turned out that brand of hoodie I was so interested in was excluded from any Dick’s Sporting Goods discounts — go figure! No sale! I was so energized at the prospect of owning the hoodie that I went to bed that evening sad and conflicted. Why am I so willing to spend scores of dollars on gifts for family and friends, but become a penny pincher when it comes to myself? One reason certainly has to do with control. I only buy gifts for others once, maybe twice, a year, so I don’t have to worry about this becoming an uncontrollable habit. For myself, however, I could invent any number of reasons to buy myself a gift. So for this reason, I must work hard to limit self-indulgences lest I find myself in shopaholics anonymous.
Still, I woke up the next morning feeling conflicted about the hoodie and just decided — f*** it. At this point I had spent hours searching, deliberating, and feeling downright conflicted. So much rigmarole for a piece of lounge wear is simply uncalled for. In that moment, I decided that life is too short to feel conflicted about a hoodie. So, I bought it, wholesale. There is no reason in the world why a simple piece of clothing should stir up so many negative and anxious emotions in a shopper. According to 13 reviews from verified purchasers, the hoodie is the fluffiest and coziest hoodie ever — which is all the justification that I need.
So, I wish myself a merry early Christmas and thank myself for my own generosity. How kind of me!
Happy (early) holidays to you too, dear Reader. I hope you get yourself something nice.