Tis the Season to Self-Gift: Take Advantage of Holiday Prices with These 6 Things

Yes, the holidays are all about giving to others – but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from the deals too.

self-gifting

How do you gift?

Do you start looking for inspiration months ahead of the holidays and build a careful list?

Or are you a gonzo gifter, blitzing shops, Amazon, and gift guides at the last minute?

Whatever your style, one of the very best things about holiday shopping is the time-honored tradition of self-gifting.

Be honest. Who hasn’t picked up one or two choice items for themselves in the midst of shopping for friends and loved ones?

Some of my friends admit to it, but guiltily, like the holidays are just about selfless generosity. I reject that. I argue the holidays are actually one of the best times to shop for yourself. What’s my reasoning?

First, it’s efficient: you’re already browsing and will probably come across an item, service, or experience without any dedicated effort.

Second, the holiday shopping months feature the biggest deals and discounts of the year on lots of things that are not only perfect gifts, but that we wear or use in our own lives. When you zoom out and get passed the idea that you're ‘supposed' to be shopping for other people, you realize it's prudent spending by nabbing a few deals for yourself along the way.

Self-gifting should be about those functional goods and services that will make a huge improvement in your life, especially if they’re a bit of an investment because they'll be the cheapest they are all year. So check out five of our picks below:

Primer Partner Pick:

1. Upgrade Your Underwear

Underwear is a highly personal item and it can get expensive, which makes it perfect for self-gifting. Besides, what guy wants to ask his mom for underwear at Christmas?

Underwear is the most important part of your wardrobe most people never see, and that means it’s easy to neglect. But that doesn’t mean you should.

Comfortable, durable underwear that still retain their fabric elasticity equals all day comfort because they won’t bunch, scrunch or sag like a pair past its prime.

Quality drawers also bestow the confidence you get knowing your intimate regions are well represented, sartorially-speaking, if your date (or relationship!) is going well.

Let’s get realistic: How many pairs of tired, frayed, overstretched-at-the-waistband undies that should only be kept for emergency laundry day,  do you have in your daily rotation at the moment? If the answer is more than one, it’s time to cull the herd and upgrade.

Upgrading, however, can be painful. Unless you’re a cleanliness maniac – or have an $800 laundry-folding robot – you need 10+ pairs to see you through a typical week of work, gym, and sleep. The number rises if you practice the 2-a-day rule: fresh pair in the morning and a fresh pair after a workout. Upgrading your entire stock gets expensive, which is why we love the membership at MeUndies.com.

Signing up nets you a new pair of undies every month at 33% off the regular price. Add in free shipping, 90-day returns (also with free shipping), and member perks and the MeUndies membership is a competitive way to refresh your stock piece by piece. Set it, forget it, always have nice underwear.

The standout MeUndies feature is the ability to pick your build (Boxer Briefs, Trunks, Boxers, or Briefs) and then have fun with your colors (Classic, Adventurous, or Bold). MeUndies is always adding to their Adventurous and Bold color options, and it’s great to be able to inject some personality into your underwear choices.

Add to that premium super comfortable micro-modal cotton and quality construction that means your undies will  keep their integrity for a long time to come.

We hooked up with MeUndies to give Primer readers 20% off of their first order.

Click here to Save 20% on MeUndies

2. Proper Running Shoes

Do you have the right athletic shoes for your biomechanics and fitness application?

Unless your answer is something like, “I’m a heel-striker with moderate pronation who feels best in a medium-supportive shoe,” probably not.

Dr. George Lane, a board certified Podiatrist, points to improper shoe fit, overwear, and poor shoe construction as a leading cause of running injuries. The same is true of cross-training and gym applications. How many times have you seen a guy on the treadmill in Chuck Taylors? His knees won’t be thanking him at 50.

Luckily, the science of shoe fit and build materials has come a long way. The majority of shoes have a max lifespan of about 500 miles, which is easy to log even if you’re not a dedicated runner. And any signs of excessive wear – or joint aches and pains – mean its time to trade them in.

So for this pair, invest the time and cash in a pair of running shoes that’s best for your body and activity.

Most dedicated running stores have the equipment to perform gait analysis, determine if yours is neutral, pronating, or supinating, and recommend the right kind of trainer for your biomechanics.

They can also break down the different tiers of shoe, and looking at dedicated running shoe brands like Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance, and Asics will add a bit to the price but a lot to the quality. The trick to saving on running shoes is that…they're all kind of ugly anyway. Buy what works for your body, even if that model is a couple of seasons old, on Black Friday clearance, and looks like something Steve Jobs wore to work.

Click here to Find a Running Store Near You

23andme

3. Find Out Your Ancestry (And More)

23andMe pioneered at-home genetic testing kits and in the process picked up a lot of buzz – so much so there’s a sub-genre of Youtube videos featuring people revealing their ancestry.

Apart from the (potentially) surprising and definitely interesting insights into your heritage (which will set you back $50), springing for the in-depth $200 Health & Wellness package opens up a whole suite of useful information.

23andMe reports on 5+ genetic health risks (like Parkinson’s), if you’re a carrier for 40+ conditions (like Hereditary Hearing Loss), and 15+ “fun ones,” like your biological tendency for unibrow-ism.

It’s the perfect balance of insightful and practical – you have a conversation piece for the holiday meal and data you can use to plan your healthcare for decades to come.

Normally priced at $99, 23andMe is currently running a holiday promotion where you get 2 kits for only $49.

Click here to get two 23andMe kits for only $49 each

4. Refresh Your Gym Bag

The nylon bag you had in college isn’t cutting it any longer. A waxed canvas or leather duffle provides lifetime durability and a more professional, polished look that says you’re to be taken seriously at the office and the gym.

With a little research, Primer has uncovered some of the best deals to be found on Amazon, including this robust under $50 waxed canvas duffel from S-Zone.

Of course, you can always upgrade further (check out our Guide to Weekenders Under $125), but a refresh on your gym bag is a versatile, useful self-gift for the holidays.

Click here to pick up this waxed canvas duffel for only $46

5. Stock Up On Sweaters

You've no doubt received many a sweater over the years as holiday gifts.

You may have assumed it was because Aunt Dorothy or your college girlfriend or whoever was trying upgrade your closet or improve your style.

But that's not the real reason.

In the run up to the holidays, sweaters are discounted more than any other time during the year. You can easily find well made knits for under $40, and if you're being a diligent self-gifter while you're out making your holiday shopping rounds, you can even find cashmere sweaters at the lowest you'll see them. Retailers bank on last-minute shoppers settling on a sweater in a stressed panic – it's a safe and unassuming gift for every single member of the family.

So don't feel guilty when none of the 5 sweaters in your bag are for anyone else but you. Know you're getting the best deal of the year.

6. Improve Your Meals At Home

Silicon Valley wants a piece of your home cookin’ budget, bad.

Meal delivery services like Blue Apron have sprung up like weeds in the past few years, offering all the convenience and satisfaction of cooking at home without the hassle of planning and standing in line at the grocery store.

While there are numerous options to choose from for a meal-box subscription service, Blue Apron has a huge jump on the competition: they offer a greater variety of meals at a lower cost than any of the major competition.

Blue Apron’s 2-person plan offers three meals for $59.94 per week ($9.99 per person per meal) while the family plan is $139.84 per week ($8.74 per person per meal). Can you eat cheaper? Of course. But that’s not what you’re paying for.

Built in to Blue Apron’s cost is their meal planning, which will have you sampling different foods and learning how to cook new cuisine – skills you apply “off-Apron” for life.

Click here to check out Blue Apron

What are your favorite holiday self-gifting items? How will you TYS (Treat Yo Self) this year?

Stillman Brown is a writer and TV producer who has created prime time content for National Geographic, Discovery, Travel Channel and many others. His interests span science & the natural world, personal growth, and food. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

  • Zac Silk

    It would have to be sweaters for me. I went to Gap around black Friday last year and bought that shawl collar cardigan in navy and grey, as well as some others. I’m hoping to do the same thing this year with their camel version.

  • Serafin

    I usually pick up sweaters in the late spring when they are on clearance.

  • Toro

    I would advise against a wax canvas or leather bag for gym use – cannot be properly cleaned if you store sweaty clothes in it.

    but they are wonderful for a weekender bag

  • https://www.instagram.com/howhardcouldthatbe/ Scott Ingalls

    The genius of this list is that it is all invisible items! It’s bad form to show up at your mother-in-law’s house wearing a brand new leather jacket having only brought her an affordable bottle of unspectacular wine from the grocery store near her house. ASK ME HOW I KNOW!
    I like to spend one of the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas backing up photos from all of my devices. It’s great because I get to relive the memorable moments of the year, while freeing some device space (I’m looking at you iphone!) just in time for holiday photos.
    You don’t want to be that guy who is deciding which photos to delete at 12:58 on December 31st so he can capture the ball dropping.
    Sure, a 128GB USB flash drive isn’t the jammiest fashion accessory, but by conducting an annual ‘photo purge and squirrel’ you’ll get to review the ghost of selfie past just in time to figure out what you would like to incorporate when you meet the ghost of selfie future. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef87e4784a2cc5a86a66cff3bec3884639a2837edf87bae0bbad177762b8b4b2.png

  • Joseph Padilla

    As it is, I’m waiting on the results of my 23andMe report. Should be interesting.

    Also, looks like I’ll be needing a new pair of running sneakers to alternate with since one of them is getting worn out after two years.

    • rogun

      Not saying I do it, but I think they recommend buying new running shoes every 6 months. Or is it 3 months?

  • rogun

    I’ll be 50 in a few weeks and have rarely worn proper shoes while working out, so you’re saying my knees are doomed soon? Seriously, wearing proper shoes, that aren’t worn out, is great advice, but surprisingly, my knees are better than ever. I had weak knees as a young man, due to sport injuries as a kid, but my knees have strengthened over the years. I was just thinking about this the other day. My knees used to give out on me regularly, but they don’t do that anymore.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      It’s definitely more important for long running, etc. versus gym time.

      • rogun

        Definitely and it’s important to protect your knees. There were so many times when I’d nearly spill food and/or drinks on customers, while waiting tables with bad knees in my 20’s. I ran a lot as a kid, but my injuries were mostly due to basketball.