12 Gifts To Give Yourself This Holiday Season

This year, return all those weird gifts and get yourself something you actually want.

This is Day 1 of The Establishment’s 12 Days of Holiday Self Care series. Stay tuned for more tips in the coming days.

Every holiday season, we spend our time and money trying to figure out what our loved ones want. We buy thoughtful gifts for our siblings and our parents, and scented candles and gourmet candies for everyone else. We lovingly wrap these gifts and hope that they can convey some of the feeling we have for their recipients. When it finally is time to exchange gifts, almost everyone over the age of 15 is universally disappointed. Yes these gifts do show love, but…in really weird languages.

But fear not, you can return all the weird gifts and get yourself something you actually want! More than that, you should — you’ve had a long, tough year, and you’ve made it. You deserve to get what you want.

Now some people, like myself, are so used to gifting others, that we have trouble coming up with gifts for ourselves. I’ve put together a handy and diverse list of great gifts to give yourself. One of them is sure to let you know how special you are to…you!

Scheduled Lazy Days

photo credit: freeimages.com

This one is for you broke bishes out there. Get out your calendar and mark off one day every two weeks or every month. This is your lazy day. What’s a lazy day? It’s a day where you aren’t going to do shit. You aren’t going to mom’s, you aren’t going to clean, you aren’t going to work out. You are going to eat gummy worms in bed while watching Netflix. You are going to nap. And you aren’t going to feel bad about it. Drop the kids off with a friend or grandma if you can. If you don’t have a sitter, set them up with snacks, games, and a movie and say, “Today is lazy day. For every hour you can play quietly I’ll give you a dollar.”

A Daring Wardrobe Piece

Draped Front Skirt | Nakimuli.com
One Shoulder Mudcloth Mambo Dress | Nakimuli.com

You know that one artistic, eye-catching item of clothing you wish you could pull off? Guess what, you can and you should. Buy that thing. Put it on your body. You look fucking fantastic. Not sure where to start? Everything Nakimuli is amazing.

A Vibrator

The Eroscillator — MASTURBATE

No, not that loud, clit-numbing plastic thing you have under your bed. A real vibrator — one that looks like a Dalek weapon. One that plugs into the wall. The Eroscillator (recommended highly by a fellow writer and The Establishment contributor) is the only vibrator endorsed by Dr. Ruth. Need I say more?


Neverwhere. One of my favorite audiobooks. Audible.com

I used to be confused by audiobooks. Why would you want someone to read to you? Don’t we outgrow that by 7? But the last few years, my anxiety has made it hard to read for long stretches of time. I missed books desperately until I started listening to audiobooks. And guess what? Audiobooks are amazing. I’m now “reading” all the time. While I clean the kitchen, while I drive to meetings, while I draw. And if read well, audiobooks can put you even deeper into the story than reading it yourself would. Now, of course, many people have been hip to the wonders of audiobooks for ages (especially those who are visually impaired), but for those of us who didn’t know, now you do.

A Hotel Stay

photo credit: freeimages.com

If you have the funds, book yourself a night in a decent hotel. A hotel with room service. Arrive as early in the day as you can, change into a robe, hide the tv remotes, order snacks and wine, and read a book, draw a picture, or dream of fame and romance. Don’t call anybody on your phone, don’t log onto the internet. Just enjoy some solitude and food cooked by someone else on dishes you don’t have to wash.

Personal Heater

Lasko Personal Heater | Amazon

If you live with other people, chances are, you have different definitions of “warm” and “cold.” If you are one of those people who finds themselves shivering under a pile of sweaters and blankets while the rest of your household walks around in shorts and sleeveless tees, you need to get yourself a personal heater. It’s a little bit of vacation just for you.

A Winter Coat

Oversized Coat | Asos

The reason why those of us of the caregiving persuasion are always cold may be that we don’t have a good winter coat. A good winter coat is something you buy for your kids every year. It’s something we buy for our aging parents. And far too often, it’s something we neglect to buy for ourselves. The ability to go out and take care of business without freezing your ass off is a necessity of self-care. And why not look stylish while doing it?

‘Texts From Jane Eyre’

jane eyre
Texts From Jane Eyre | Amazon

If you haven’t discovered the genius of Mallory Ortberg, well — I just don’t know who you are anymore. If you are a lover of books and things that are both smart and hilarious, you’ll love this book. It’s a quick read sure to please any fan of classic literature. It’s one of those books I pick up when I want to giggle.



If you’ve had that voice in the back of your head whispering “Hey — maybe you should talk to someone,” you should give yourself some appointments with a therapist. Yes, therapy can be expensive if not covered by your insurance, but there are economical options out there. Some therapists work on sliding pay scales, group therapy is often less expensive, and you can schedule visits for every two weeks instead of every week. Therapy isn’t something that once started, you have to continue forever. Think of therapy as a mental tune-up or spa treatment. I usually find myself in a therapist’s office for a few months every other year or so when I can use some balance and some time to really work on me. Also, if you are in therapy and are not thrilled with your therapist, give yourself the gift of a different therapist — don’t settle until you find one you love. It will make a world of difference.


Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.10.50 AM

As a single mom of two loud boys and one very whiny cat, the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself is a $5 pack of pink, foam earplugs. The ability to get a full night’s sleep has rejuvenated me, taken five years off of my face, and added five years to my life. The kids can literally burn the house down and I’ll stay soundly asleep until the fireman drags me from my slumber.

Slipper Socks

Pembrook Non-Skid Socks | Amazon

Are your feet cold? Yes they are. They’re always cold. You need slipper socks. These warm, cushy socks will keep your feet comfy throughout the winter, while the nonslip bottoms will keep you from breaking a hip on your wood floors. Also, they’re cheap enough that you can lose a whole bunch of them in the wash without stressing.

A New Hobby


Hobbies are great. New hobbies are even better. Cheap new hobbies are the best. When I don’t have money to buy new things, I turn to learning new skills. Sites like Skillshare are a great way to learn a myriad of fun and affordable ways to spend your time, like fancy calligraphy, digital art, or papercutting. Because so many of the hobbies require little if any investment, you also won’t feel guilty if you lose interest and move onto something else.

Like what you read? Give Ijeoma Oluo a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.

The author has chosen not to show responses on this story. You can still respond by clicking the response bubble.