Your spouse got their gift, as did your kids, your parents, your friends and even that uncle who can’t seem to remember your name. All of them got their gifts and you’re probably thinking that the gift-giving part of the holiday season is all over with — but it isn’t. There’s still one more person you should buy something for, and he’s looking at you in the mirror. No, I’m not talking about that ghost that haunts your bathroom, I’m talking about you.
“It’s really important to take care of yourself during the holidays,” says Aileen Avery, gift-giving expert and author of Gift Rap: The History and Art of Gift Giving. “We know that stress, depression and anxiety go way up during this time and health experts say that this is when you should be practicing healthy self care. One of the ways you can care for yourself is by treating yourself to a gift,” Avery says. But don’t just make a mental note of this, treat yourself to a gift now — before the New Year, even — that way you won’t forget about it.
To figure out what to spend that money on, a good place to start is to determine what you can afford. As Avery explains, “make sure you budget for the gift to yourself so you don’t overspend and create anxiety” — which, of course, would kind of defeat the whole purpose of doing this at all.
If, magically, you managed to underspend on your Christmas budget, you can use the remainder from that. Or, if you’ve been saving up for something big, maybe now is the time to finally pull the trigger.
The most ideal source for your gift, though, is any and all cash that you received as a Christmas gift. Normally, cash gifts are just shoved into your wallet, only to be spent on something boring like groceries or a tank of gas, but this year, take that money and spend it on an actual gift. After all, that was the gift’s intended purpose, so, by spending that cash on a gift, you’re honoring the spirit in which it was given. As a bonus, once you’ve bought the gift, Avery recommends snapping a picture of it and sending it to whoever gave you the cash, as that will truly show how grateful you are.
Once you’ve got your budget figured out, deciding on something to buy is going to be entirely personal, although Avery highly recommends something frivolous, fun, or something to do with self care. So if the holiday stress has put knots in your back, schedule yourself an appointment with a masseuse. If you just need a bit of escape from reality, get a book or a good video game. Or, if you still want to be a bit practical, get yourself something to take care of your face, hair or even your balls.
Or, for something really pragmatic, maybe it’s time you finally bought yourself that bathroom ghost removal kit. After all, you deserve a little time to yourself.