Extravagant gifts from one country to another

Anna Allgaier

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The season of gift giving is upon us yet again. Most of us will be badly wrapping Black Friday purchases and praying for our loved ones to like them. But I think it’ll be fun to take a look at the fancier side of prezzie purchases.

Nothing says “lol sorry” or “please like me” like free stuff. Which is why for centuries countries have been buying each other big, sometimes unnecessary gifts to keep relations right, tight and free of fight.

So join me as we take a walk down the diplomatic present walk of fame. Aka. gifts from one country to another.

🎁 Give yourself the gift of affordable fees 🎁

Gifts between countries

The Statue of Liberty gift from France 🗽

The Statue of Liberty was gifted from France to the US to celebrate their alliance during the American revolution. The gorgeous lady is 93 metres tall, cost $5.7 to build and draws in around 3.2 million visitors a year. I bet nobody’s coming to see the pair of socks you got your Dad 5 years in a row.

Norway’s Christmas tree gift 🎄

If you’re a Londoner or paid the city a visit during the Xmas season, you may have stumbled upon a very, very large Christmas tree bang in the middle of Trafalgar Square. If you haven’t, you may have seen an article on how ugly it was a few years back (no shade, Norway). Well, this tree costs over £1,255.59 to give to the UK every year and has been gifted since the Second World War as a symbol of friendship. Awwww.

The Pandas in Washington Zoo 🐼

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing are two fluffy fellas that China gave to the US after Richard Nixon paid China a visit in 1972. In return, the US sent them two Musk Oxen. Not as cute as Panda’s but, whatever. We’ve all received a disappointing gift or two. Shoutout to the self-help book my Mom got me in 2019. Rude.

How many tulips does Holland give to Canada? 🌷

As a “omg thanks” to Canada for looking after the Dutch royal family during the Second World War, The Netherlands sent the nation of friendly people 10,00 bulbs of their famous Tulips, and they’ve kept the tradition alive gifting the nation £63,398.44 worth of flowers every year.

The Sword of Stalingrad 🗡️

Bit controversial, but, no risk no reward. In 1943, Winston Churchill sent Stalin (told you) a 92cm two-handled sword with an 18-carat gold hand grip. The sword was a thank you for the support the Soviet Union gave to the Brits during the Battle of Stalingrad.

A Trojan horse gift 🐴

In honour of the “I’m giving this to you but it’s actually something I want and will use” gift, I thought it fitting to mention the Trojan Horse that Greece gave to the city of Troy in 1180 BC. The giant horse on wheels was actually full of soldiers and was used to enter the city during the Trojan War. Sneaky.

The National Stadium of Costa Rica 🏟️

Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional is worth £83,263,000.00 - steep. It was a gift from China in 2011 and while we don’t really know why it was given to the Central American country, we do know that it’s probably one of the priciest exchanges you could come across. Go China. Fab at the gifts.

The Resolute Desk 🏛️

Queen of England and Queen of gift giving. In 1880 Queen Victoria gave President Hayes the Resolute Desk which sits in the White House to this day. It’s made out of timber from the HMS resolute, an English ship that got stuck in some ice and was kindly refurbished and sent back to the UK by the Americans.

Say hello to Zarafa the giraffe 🦒

This long-legged lassie was sent over to King Charles X of France in 1827 by Muhammad Ali Pasha, governor of Egypt. He also sent giraffes to two other countries, so you know, minus points for originality.

A DVD gift from the US to the UK 💿

We’ve now come to the most underwhelming present of the bunch. In 2009 President Obama sent the UK 25 DVD’s of American classics including “The Godfather” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Don’t think he got the memo on Netflix being a thing. He also sent them an iPod with showtunes and video footage of the Queen’s visit to the US. To be honest, that is pretty thoughtful. Let’s compare this one to the “homemade gift.”

A bit of Irish love ☘️

And finally, every St Patrick’s Day since 1952, a minister of Ireland has given the US President a bowl of shamrock. A shamrock is only three leaves, not the lucky number four, but we’re still vibing with this gift.


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