MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Difference Between “Gifts” & “Presents”

Christmastime…the time of year when everyone seems to be busy buying, wrapping, and giving items to people that we’d like for them to have. What are they called again?  Gifts! Or…is it presents? Is there even really a difference between “gifts” & “presents”?

Each word arose from a different language family. “Gift” was derived from the old Germanic root word for “to give”, which referred firstly to “an act of giving”, then to the item actually being given. In Old English, gift represented “the dowry given to a bride’s parents”. The word “present”, on the other hand, comes from the French word for “to present”, and refers to an item being presented to or bestowed upon someone. From the 1200s to now, both have been used to represent the idea of items being transferred with no payment expectation.

Both words are fitting synonyms that basically mean the same thing…but even well-matched synonyms can have their own individual connotations & varied usage patterns. “Gift” ultimately applies to a wider range of situations: they can be particular talents, the gift of gab, a musical gift. They can also be intangibles: the gift of understanding or the gift of a quiet day. We generally don’t use the word “present” to describe things such as those, since presents are more concrete or, well, in the present. For instance: if your whole extended family donated money on your birthday to go toward your college fund, you wouldn’t say “I got a lot of monetary presents”. Since you never really held those donations in your hand, “monetary gifts” works better.

Gift can also be what’s called an attributive noun, meaning it acts like an adjective in order to modify another separate noun. For example: you call the type of shop where you can buy presents for people a…gift shop; you call the containers of items you send to your coworkers on birthdays or holidays…gift baskets. “Present” doesn’t really work well to describe other nouns. Think about it: gift boxes, gift cards, gift wrap…those work. Present boxes, present cards, or present wrap…not so much.

Ultimately, for most folks, “present” is just more casual than “gift”. So, it might be best to think of it this way: when a child sits on Santa’s lap to tell him what he or she wants for Christmas, he or she will usually ask St. Nick for “lots of presents”, as opposed to “many gifts”.

Got the gift of a Mundane Mystery idea you’d like to send me to solve? Send a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot an email to

House of the Week – 12/2/22

Beautiful Colonial home situated on a large corner lot. Being a former model home, no detail was overlooked! Entering the home, you step into the foyer with soaring 2-story ceilings and hardwood floors. The foyer is flanked by the formal dining room and office with French doors. Proceeding through the home you will see the open-concept kitchen and family room area. The kitchen showcases granite countertops, a center island, ample cabinet space, and access to the rear deck. Connecting the kitchen and family room is the 3-sided gas fireplace. The family room includes a built-in desk and shelving area. Rounding out the main level is the convenient half bath and laundry/mud room area. The upper level features a master suite with a walk-in closet and fully updated bath including a soaking tub as well as 3 additional bedrooms and a full hall bath. Adding even more living space is the finished walkout basement with a rec room and full bath. The rear deck, patio, and large fenced backyard make a great place to entertain or enjoy the stunning mountain views and amazing sunsets! The fenced rear yard backs to an open space that cannot be built on. Additional highlights include a 1-year-old roof & oversized gutter system, an attached 2-car garage, and crown molding & chair railing. This home gives the best of both worlds as it is located in a neighborhood but it also offers a rural feeling by being surrounded by farmland.

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Is Giving Tuesday?

Today (11/29/22) is “Giving Tuesday”! And while a recent poll found 93% of us think of ourselves as generous. So, today seems like the day to get out there & prove it. But what even IS “Giving Tuesday”?

“Giving Tuesday” is a day when you’re encouraged to donate & volunteer.  It’s always held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, sort of piggy backing on top of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. But, instead of buying stuff for yourself, it’s about being generous & donating…“giving” of yourself.  The first Giving Tuesday was actually held back in 2012, so today marks the 10th anniversary.  More than 85 countries are involved now, and we Americans, alone, gave about $2.7 billion last year.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate “Giving Tuesday”. One of the easiest is on Facebook. Just go to, and it walks you right through it.  You can choose a charity, or start your own fundraiser & get friends to donate. In the past, Facebook matched donations on “Giving Tuesday”, but they’ve changed it up this year (and it might actually already be over). They usually match the first few million bucks people donate, and always hit that number within seconds. But this year, they’re doing it with recurring donations. So, people who sign up to donate monthly could have it matched after their second monthly payment.  The hope is that that will help keep charities bringing in money, even after the holiday is over. Facebook also capped the total amount they’ll give at $7 million this year, matching up to $100 per donation, and up to $100,000 per nonprofit.

But the best way to give & help your own friends & neighbors right here in Frederick is through our sister station’s, WFMD’s, “Christmas Cash For Kids”, going on right now. Just bring your monetary donation here station (5966 Grove Hill Road, Frederick, MD 21703) any day through Friday 12/03/22 between 6am & 6pm. You’ll make a big difference for kids in need this Christmas!

And if you’ve got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved, send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot me an email at

BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Berryville Graphics

House of the Week – 11/25/22

Built-in 2021, this move-in-ready town home offers an open floor plan and several upgrades! Enter on the main level which allows access to the attached garage and features a mud room with a closet, a bonus room to finish how you see fit and rough-in plumbing for an additional half bath. The main living area consists of the living room, dining area, and kitchen which boasts a large center island, quartz counters, stainless steel appliances, and upgraded 42″ cabinets. Luxury vinyl plank flooring runs throughout that level which also features a half bath and access to the fenced rear yard. Your primary suite awaits on the top floor and offers a vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet and attached bath with dual sinks, a soaking tub and walk-in shower. Two additional bedrooms, a full bath, and the convenient upper-level laundry area round out the top floor. Additional highlights include new ceiling fans, fresh neutral paint throughout, a new kitchen backsplash, and a tankless water heater. Only 10 minutes from downtown Hanover and offers easy access to grocery stores, shops, restaurants, parks, and Lake Marburg.