Christmas is rapidly approaching, and you are in a panic about what to get for that special someone.
Rest assured that you are not alone.
In 1864 General Sherman had not had time to go holiday shopping for his boss, President Abraham Lincoln. His solution was to wire Lincoln the following: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” Top that.
When Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, creatively gifted his favorite wife the Taj Mahal, there was the trifling drawback that he also intended it to serve as her tomb. But hey, there is nothing wrong with a dual-purpose gift.
Speaking of large gifts, in 1985 Marie Christianson of Apple Valley, Minnesota woke up on Christmas morning to find an 8-foot-tall fiberglass elephant on her front lawn. It was payback from a neighbor she had, two years earlier, gifted a wheelbarrow crushed by a garbage truck.
There is a lesson there.
Large fake mammals are impressive, but they pale in comparison to the real thing. In 1514 King Manuel of Portugal gave a live white elephant to Pope Leo X. Alas, Hanno’s life was cut short when the Pope fed her gold to ease her constipation. You could say that the Pope poisoned his prized poop-less pachyderm.
If you are into gifting to save the environment, then you might follow the lead of the Kentucky Boy Scout group that gave President Gerald Ford an eagle made of beer can tabs. The eagle eventually landed in his presidential library.
Legally, a valid gift occurs when the giver intends for it to be a gift, the gift is delivered, and the recipient accepts it.
Virginia Hammerle is president of Hammerle Finley Law Firm. She is an accredited estate planner and has been board-certified in civil trial law for 25 years. She also has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for the past 10 years. She blogs regularly on senior issues and the law. Email [email protected] for her monthly newsletter. This column is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.