The history behind some extraordinary gifts

Do you have sweaty palms when you want into a gift shop are a dazzled but also confused by the wide range of birthday hampers that you find there? Then don’t worry; there are plenty of people in the present and in the past that have faced dilemmas similar to yours. In fact, the facts behind some of the well-known gifts are so bizarre that you will congratulate yourself on your gifting skills that are definitely better than that of some others!

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  • A statue of friendship – Long back before countries were only competing against each other for power and land, there were days when one country would laud the bravery and nobility of another country. One such popular instance is that of France honouring USA after the Civil War. In 1865, a French politician had expressed his desire to gift a statue to USA. This statue took 21 years to be fully built. Parts of the statue were shipped from French to American ports before they could all be put together to form the complete statue. For those of you who don’t already know the statue being discussed, it is none other than the very famous Statue of Liberty!
  • A sneaky gift –The Russians improvised on the Trojan horse tale and gifted a little something that was not discovered for it really was for 7 years! Leon Theremin, a brilliant inventor of Russian (then known as USSR) had created a bug that was planted in a wooden Great Seal that was gifted to the American Ambassador of the year 1945, Averell Harriman. The bug was so skilfully crafted and then hidden that it could not be traced by even the next three ambassadors and the “gift” hung in the Ambassador’s House office proving to be a valuable asset to the Russians!
  • An elephantine gesture – This is a story of a well-intended gift that was not handled well. Kings and dignitaries of many countries all over the world hold the Pope in highest regards and show their appreciation in the form of many unique gifts. There are few that rival the uniqueness of this gift though – Portuguese King Manuel had gifted a white elephant to Pope Leo X in the year 1514. The Pope was thoroughly captivated by the beauty and thoughts behind this gigantic gift and unfortunately went overboard in his care for the “gift”. He got a special laxative laced with gold to be given to the elephant, named Hanno, when the animal had trouble pooping. Result – the elephant died at the very tender age of 6!
  • A gift that rocks – Diamonds have been popular gifts for a while now and will continue to do so. The allure of these gems is such that people are willing to pay millions for them! One such extravagant gift was made by Richard Burton to the hauntingly beautiful American actress – Elizabeth Taylor. Known as the Taylor-Burton diamond, this was of a whopping 69.42 carats and shaped like a pear. When Dame Taylor chose to sell it, it fetched her much needed $5 million that she used for charitable causes.

Make your gifts as unique as you wish the birthday celebrations for your loved ones to be. Spend a little time choosing your next time before you spend a ton of money on it!

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