So just as recent as a few hours ago, I was in an argument with a girl.

She likes buying people gifts for their birthdays and various holidays. Sounds sweet right? Not in my opinion, especially when it amounts to the vast quantities of money she is spending doing so when she makes less than 36 thousand dollars a year.

7 nieces and nephews 3 siblings 2 parents 8 cousins 7 children of the cousins 1 grandma 9 aunts and uncles

For all of them she buys a birthday present when it's their birthday, a Christmas present when it's Christmas; Easter gifts for the children when it's Easter.

She says that she's "generous" while I called her an " an excessive consumerist" who seems to integrate consumerism into every facet of any social event and gathering.

But is there another word for what she's doing, an idiom, psychological term, compound words, or something of the like?

Please don't comment that it's her money to do what she pleases. And please don't comment on the privy of her information. I included all that for contextual purposes.

  • 1
    It's her money to do what she wants with it, but she does seems to be going over the top. It should be her family's responsibility to tell her to buy presents only for the kids. If she's happy buying gifts for her family, she is: considerate, thoughtful, and very generous. She might feel obligated out of a sense of duty, guilt; or, the spending feeds a compulsive desire. There are studies which show donating gifts psychologically rewards the giver. Serotonin levels increase and raise mood, and feelings of gratifications etc. psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/shopping
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 7:58
  • I think you should specify whether you want a formal/medical term or an informal one. And for one word to express a fairly complex situation is fairly unrealistic. You're more likely to receive answers if you tag your post idiom-request and phrase-request.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 8:02
  • @Mari-LouA I'm not sure who it is going to help if we know the technical name for it, assuming there is one. But what is going on here is slightly troubling, and were she a relative of mine I think I would be trying to persuade her toward some counselling, or at least a friendly chat with someone who has her interests at heart.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 8:38
  • There is a Cognitive Science site which may be a better place to discuss this.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 8:42
  • 1
    @DannyRodriguez I would call it compulsive generosity. There is a discussion about it here.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


A shopaholic? - enjoying shopping very much and spending too much time or money doing it (Oxford learners' dictionary).

This term suggests that she needs to buy but doesn't really cover the buying of presents for others.

A compulsive buyer? - a little vague

A spendthirft? - spending too much money, or wasting money (Oxford learners' dictionary)

Does this term imply she spends on herself?

overgenerous perhaps? - giving too much of something (Oxford learners' dictionary)

  • Shopaholic seems close. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 7:54

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