A couple of days ago a columnist in the [London] Times, enraged at finding her inbox full of advertising material for ‘Festive Gifting’, wrote a rant about gifting, condemning it as an ugly and unnecessary word.
Ugly, I grant her. But unnecessary? I don’t think so. Everyone in Rightpondia understands, even if only unconsciously, that a gift (as in ‘Ideal Gift’) is what you give to someone whose tastes you don’t know or care enough about to give a present to. (And my excellent father made sure that his children understood that the subspecies free gift is the kind you have to pay for.) I would say that festive gifting, ugly or not, is a very clear and handy term for a modern Western custom with anthropological parallels worldwide: the ritual exchange, on fixed ceremonial occasions, of objects of equivalent value.
Anybody disagree? Is there anybody here who would describe giving presents to their best-beloveds as ‘festive gifting’, other than with tongue firmly stuffed in cheek? Does Left- and Rightpondian usage differ at all?