A Gift or a Present?

My significant other {let’s call him Jim} believes that a gift and a present are not the same thing.

He insists that a gift is something the recipient wants to receive – while a present is something you want them to have. And he has a very complicated trick for remembering the difference {I’ll spare your holidazed brain the explanation. Consider it a gift – or a present.}

Apparently, Merriam-Webster disagrees. A recent article on the M-W website explains, “There is no difference between presenting a gift or gifting a present…” Wrapped or unwrapped, wanted or unwanted – the nouns gift and present are synonymous. And, as the phrase above shows, both words also can be used as verbs.

For my word nerd friends, it should be noted that there is one distinction: gift can be an attributive noun {think “adjective”} – as in “gift wrap,” “gift card,” and “gift swap.” The latter of which, according to Jim’s logic, is what you might do with an unwanted present.

No matter which word you prefer, I sincerely hope this transformative year has brought deeper meaning to what the holiday season is all about – and that you find gifts of joy, hope, and love where you can.