On December 24th, 2015 we learned about

Land and landmarks as grandest of gifts

While gifts should be appreciated for the thought and consideration behind them, it’s hard to ignore the allure of those really big ticket items with your name on them. Not TVs, not cars, but the really big gifts. Gifts so big that they can’t be delivered to you, you have to go to them, because they’re land. Gifting a few acres isn’t unheard of, and often people will donate turf to schools, hospitals or wildlife preserves. While 6,000 acres is obviously quite the stocking stuffer, the following landmarks may take the cake as eye-popping presents.

Presents and politics

During the American Civil War, General William T. Sherman surprised President Lincoln with an early Christmas present. Having been out of communication since September of 1864, the general turned up on December 22nd, announcing that he was gifting the Union the city of Savannah, Georgia, along with some weapons, ammunition and cotton. Lincoln politely replied with an appreciative thank you note, although the residents of Savannah didn’t quite feel the Christmas spirit in all this though, as Sherman’s March was an incredibly bloody and destructive campaign, designed to intimidate southern forces into surrender.

Gifts to royalty obviously need a bit more wow-factor to stand out. As part of the dowry for the marriage of England’s Charles II to Portugal’s Catherine of Braganza, Portugal gave the king the cities of Tangier and Bombay (now Mumbai). Cities, of course, are hard to call “the perfect gift” for that special someone, and this dowry was arranged as part of Charles and Catherine’s political marriage. The same exchange included other sundries like sugar, plates, jewels and free trade agreements.

Awarding new altitudes

Few cities are swapped these days, but some citizens in Norway are currently working on something even bigger for the people of Finland: a mountain. Halti mountain is mostly located in Finland, but its peak is actually across the border in Norway. To “take Finland to new heights,” a campaign started by Bjørn Geirr Harsson would like to move the border, granting Finland domain over the Hálditšohkka summit. If successful, this gift would be the highest point in Finland, at 4,367 feet tall. As generous as this present is, Norway would be holding on to some Scandinavian bragging rights, with around 200 other mountains over 6,560 feet tall staying within their borders.

Then again, it is the thought that counts, right?

Source: Why Some Norwegians Want to Give Finland One of Their Mountains by Marina Koren, The Atlantic

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