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 The Verbification of Christmas

The Verbification of Christmas

Thanksgiving’s over and our thoughts turn toward Christmas. Today - Black Friday - is the official start of the holiday shopping season.

So why must Nordstrom ruin our merry mood with this:

“Let’s Go Gifting!”

No, let’s not, Nordstrom. Let’s go shopping. Let’s go to the mall. Let’s buy stuff.

But gifting isn’t a thing. Or shouldn’t be.

This is a terrible slogan. It’s worse than “got milk?” “Eat Mor Chikin.” Or Charmin’s “Why not enjoy the go?” (Those Charmin bears, always talking about you-know-what. Ugh.)


“Let’s Go Gifting” is a cringeworthy attempt to turn a noun into a verb and sound hip while doing it.

Memo to Nordstrom: We have plenty of verbs. We don’t need new ones.

Gifts is a noun, by the way. Unless it’s being used correctly as an adjective, as in a “gifted pianist” or a “gifted liar.”

Gift is not a verb. Neither is it a gerund. You don’t gift someone. You give them a gift. And “gifting?” Hell, no.

Honestly, this assault on the English language has to stop. 

Before writing this, however, I checked with Mignon Fogarty, AKA The Grammar Girl.

And if you have 11:02 minutes to spare, you can listen to this podcast where she discusses the new usages of the simple four-letter word, “gift.”

But who wants to spend that long listening to a grammarian?

Here’s a summary: As it happens, “gift” has been used as a verb for about 400 years.


Look around. Do you see the Loch Ness monster? Did you eat haggis for Thanksgiving dinner? Are you wearing a kilt? Do you hear bagpipes? Is your name Sean Connery? If you answered no to all five of these questions, you are not Scottish and you’re not in Scotland. You have no reason to misuse the word “gift.” 

So why the sudden outbreak of “gifting” far from the Highlands? 

Forgarty blames a 1995 episode of “Seinfeld” called “The Label Maker.” In it, Jerry brags about a label maker he was given by a friend and Elaine says that she was the one who gave the label maker to the person who in turn gave it to Jerry.

“He’s a regifter!” Elaine exclaims.

And the next thing you knew, all of America was taking liberties with this workhorse word.

Ms. Fogarty also insists - although I believe she is wrong - that using gift as a verb is not wrong. It’s simply “grating.”

“Give” is still a much better choice,” concludes Grammar Girl.

I agree.

Now let’s stop nitpicking and start shopping. So we can give gifts on December 25th. 

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