From the Heart: 50 Fascinating Facts About Unusual Gifts Given by People

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1Joe Perry

Joe Perry

Joe Perry sold his 1959 Gibson Les Paul during his 1982 divorce. Later he found the guitar was owned by Slash. Perry called Slash and bugged him for years, offering to pay more than the guitar's worth. Years later, at Joe's 50th birthday party, Slash finally gave him the guitar as a gift.

2. The famous deaf-blind writer Hellen Keller received a gift from a Japanese police officer who gave her an Akita dog named Kamikaze-Go as a present. After the dog's death, Japan’s government gifted another Akita, making her the first person to bring the dog breed to the U.S. in 1948.

3. In 1951, Thelma Howard was hired as a maid for Walt and Lillian Disney. Walt would gift her shares of Disney stock every X-mas for the next 30 years. When she died in 1994, it was discovered she still had all 192,000 shares valued at $9,000,000. It went to disadvantaged kids and her disabled son.

4. One of Saint Nicholas' most famous gifts was giving a poor man enough money for each of his three daughters to have a proper dowry. This allowed the three girls to avoid a lifetime of prostitution to make ends meet.

5. Nintendo character Kirby was named after John Kirby, the legal counsel for Nintendo who helped them win their lawsuit with Universal Studios in 1982. John Kirby was gifted a sailboat Christened the “Donkey Kong” and given exclusive rights to name any boat he owned “Donkey Kong.”

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Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted US President John F. Kennedy a dog called Pushinka during the cold war. She, later on, had puppies; which Kennedy referred to as “the pupniks.”

7. For 25 years, two brothers (Roy Collette and Larry Kunkel) re-gifted each other the same pair of pants, in increasingly inventive and difficult packaging, including a 600lb safe, a double-glazed window, a 16-foot rocket ship, and a crushed car, with a card that read "Merry Christmas, the pants are in the glove box."

8. In 1854, American naval officer Matthew C. Perry gifted 110 gallons of American Whiskey to the Japanese emperor. That gift has since evolved into a $6 billion industry, with Japan's Suntory distillery winning 2015's World Whisky of the Year. Today, Suntory owns Jim Beam.

9. In 1926, President Coolidge and his wife were gifted a raccoon as a Thanksgiving dinner gift. They did not want to eat her, so they named her Rebecca and kept her as a pet. She had free range of The White House and would go on trips with the couple.

10. When Samuel Adams received a female slave as a wedding gift, he insisted that "a slave can not live in my house; if she comes she must be free." He was able to free her after years of writing emancipation papers and treated her as an equal family member throughout that time.

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11Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Before his death, author Robert Louis Stevenson gifted his friend's daughter his own birthday. The daughter had been born on Christmas and complained she felt like she had no real birthday.

12. In 1998, United Nations was gifted 11-foot bronze statue of an elephant by the governments of Kenya, Namibia, and Nepal, but UN decided to hide it because the statue has an erect penis.

13. Henry III received a polar bear as a gift from King Haakon of Norway in 1252. The bear lived at the Tower of London and was given a long leash so it could swim in the river Thames and catch fish.

14. Queen Mary of England was gifted a 1:12 scale dollhouse in 1924. It had working lights, books that were specially written by writers for the library, bottles filled with the appropriate drinks in the wine cellar, and model cars made by Rolls Royce. Even the toilets had working plumbing.

15. The gavel used by the UN President is called "Thor's gavel" as it was gifted to the UN by Iceland's first permanent UN representative Thor Thors.

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16Willy Warmer

Willy Warmer

There was a tradition in Norway, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands where a girl would knit a "willy warmer" (also known as cock sock) to their boyfriends to see how seriously he took their relationship. If the gift was rejected, it was seen as evidence that he was not ready for marriage.

17. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, two extremely wealthy entrepreneurs, sent each other gag Christmas gifts. Rockefeller sent Carnegie a cardboard vest to make fun of his poor childhood. In return, Carnegie sent a fine whiskey to Rockefeller, a devout Baptist who had given up drinking.

18. Abram Petrovich Gannibal was an African child who was kidnapped, taken to Russia and was presented as a gift for Peter the Great. The Tsar freed him and raised him as his godson. Gannibal became a Major-General and the Governor of Reval. He is the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, considered the greatest Russian poet.

19. When Richard the Lionheart got married, he was busy with the Crusades, so his bride came to Cyprus for the wedding. Richard then deposed the ruler of Cyprus, claiming the island for England. Richard wrapped the ruler in gold and silver chains and presented him to the new queen as a wedding gift.

20. An English submarine named HMS Trident on a combat patrol in World War 2 accepted a Russian reindeer as a gift. The reindeer spent six weeks at sea, slept under the captain's bed, and got fat off of condensed milk. It then spent the rest of its life in an English zoo.

21Hayao Nakayama

Hayao Nakayama

In 2002, Hayao Nakayama, Sega’s president gifted all $695 million of his own company stock to save Sega from going bankrupt due to the Dreamcast. He died shortly afterwards following an arduous battle with cancer.

22. A Mississippi-born alligator named Saturn was gifted to the Berlin Zoo in 1936. It escaped during the allied bombing in 1943. British soldiers found Saturn 3 years later and gifted him to the Soviet Union. He died at Moscow Zoo on May 22, 2020 at the age of 83.

23. While on a hunting trip, guitarist Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains forgot that November only had 30 days, missing a scheduled performance on December 1st. The next day, he received a calendar as a gift from Columbia records.

24. The day Jimi Hendrix died, Eric Clapton had bought a left-handed Fender Stratocaster as a gift for him. He intended on presenting it during a Sly Stone concert at the Lyceum that night, but Hendrix never showed up. The next day, Clapton learned why.

25. China owns all of the pandas in the world and rents them out to other countries for $1 million a year. The only exception to this is the 2 pandas that China gifted to Mexico in the '70s but with the agreement that if they had offspring China would own them.

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