This will be my last post for a fortnight, as I am going on holiday tomorrow until the beginning of November and am having a break from my computer. Please come back in two weeks' time!
I popped out earlier to get some last-minute things for my trip, and I saw that Marks & Spencer had a sign saying 'Gifting' over some shelves. Gifting isn't a word that is often used in British English (although it's not new - the OED has citations dating back to the early 17th century). It tends either to be used in formal contexts eg gifting one's stately home to the nation (which seems a bit over the top when referring to M&S bubble-bath sets and the like), or in negative contexts eg pyramid gifting schemes, or should I say scams (you recruit eight people to send you £1,000, they recruit eight people each to give them £1,000 and so on). It's sometimes used in sports reports in the sense 'giving away as a result of error or poor play' eg 'England wing Ugo Monye admitted Harlequins wrecked their own Heineken Cup campaign by gifting Toulouse top spot in Pool Five following a 19-23 defeat' which appeared in a UK Press Association report today. The Telegraph had the headline 'Labour big guns warn against gifting election to Tories' recently, which is a similar use of the word.
Why Marks & Spencer prefers to call its department Gifting rather than Gifts is a mystery to me. I think that most customers won't be familiar with the term.