More shoppers are buying holiday gifts for themselves this year

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Kim Perez didn’t plan on buying a gift for herself at Pasadena store Ten Thousand Villages, but an orange and black scarf caught her eye. She bought it for $60 - the first Christmas present of the season, for herself.

“I always like a good scarf,” Perez said.

Perez is part of a growing wave of shoppers who plan to buy themselves gifts this year. Six of ten shoppers will spend an average of $140 on themselves this year, the highest amount in 10 years of record keeping, the National Retail Federation reports.

It’s a shift from the recession, when most people wouldn't consider buying expensive items for themselves . Indeed, many adults skipped buying gifts for their spouses, the better to afford presents for their kids.

 Perez said she's more confident about the economy.

“This year, I am feeling good about things financially,” said Perez, a 43-year-old freelance writer. “I think things are picking up, so getting something nice for myself as a little treat is kind of nice.”

Perez was a volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages on Friday, helping the international crafts store set up holiday displays. She planned to resume holiday shopping later that night.

Many consumers wait to purchase items for themselves until the end of the year because they know they can get great deals, said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis. Popular gifts that shoppers buy for themselves include jewelry, winter coats, even HDTVs that are heavily discounted on Black Friday.

“A lot of people are saving up their money and looking forward to the holiday season,” Grannis said.

The federation expects sales from holiday shopping to increase four percent to more than $586 billion this year.

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