Will the gift you give your mom this Mother's Day go down in history as the all-time best? Probably not, unless you're Elvis or a Greek god.
Think those last-minute flowers you picked up at the gas station are a great Mother's Day gift? Well, prepare to be humiliated! Here's a list of gifts that famous — and infamous — figures throughout history have given to their dear ol' mums.
Feeling shamed by your selections this year? Consider checking out our complete guide of non-traditional gift options.
Around 1750, the emperor commissioned the Summer Palace — said to be the largest imperial garden in the world — as a gift for his mom on her birthday. Since the gardens took 15 years to complete, you just know he was like, "So, that covers me for 15 years worth of birthday gifts, right?" (Hey, we'd totally try to pull that off.)
When his mom, Hera, kicked this mythical Greek god off Mount Olympus for being lame, he built her a chair. Seemingly a weird response, it was a magic chair that, once she sat down in it, she could never get up from again. When's the last time you let your mom take a load off? (Permanently.)
Alexander the Great
After his victory over the Persians at the Battle on the Granicus — during which he almost died — lil' Alex rounded up "all the plate and purple garments" and mailed them off to his mom. What he probably never told her was he kept a few for himself, too. The modern equivalent is like giving your mom 10 doughnuts.
During a tour of Europe at the turn of the 20th century, Harry earned the moniker "The Handcuff King" after demonstrating his ability to escape from any jail or restraint. The one thing he couldn't escape? His love for his mom. He used his newfound riches to purchase his mom a dress originally made for Queen Victoria and a house in Harlem, New York. Abraca d'awww, bro!
For his mother's birthday in 1838, this famous Dutch painter gave her a self-portrait. See, even back then, kids were making things for Mom, rather than spending their money. History does not record if the frame was made of painted macaroni.
Tsar Nicholas II
In 1913, this Russian ruler gifted his mom an egg. Of course, it was a Fabergé egg made of crystal, covered in more than 3,000 diamonds, and containing a platinum basket full of white agate flowers. It was recently sold for about $5.5 million at auction. And here you are, grumbling about having to scramble one up for mom's once-a-year breakfast-in-bed.
In 1953, The King went to Sun Records to record two songs — "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" — for his mother. These recordings became instrumental in his being discovered as a singer and kickstarted his journey to fame. Of course, it also started his journey to being a druggie who died on a toilet. Happy Mother's Day!
Similar to Elvis (though he has yet to die on a toilet), Justin Bieber turned to his "talent" of songwriting to make a gift for his mom: the song "Turn to You (Mother's Day Dedication)." The main (some would say only) difference between the Biebs and Elvis, is that Bieber was already famous when he wrote his song, so he knew full well that this "gift" would net him millions in sales. Whatever his motivation, it's not like you're ever going to give your mom a chart-topping hit, right?
Theodore Morse and Howard Johnson
In 1915, they got together and wrote "M-O-T-H-E-R." It would become the epitome of songs for mama. (Sorry, Danzig.) It would also make writing Mother's Day cards really easy: Just fill in the blanks!
Say what you'd like about one of history's greatest monsters, but the former dictator sure took care of dear old Mom. The Presidential Palace at Tikrit is a complex of buildings that includes a palace for Hussein's mother. As a further gift, Hussein fitted her palace bathroom with a solid gold toilet. A nice gesture, but wouldn't that be super cold to sit on?
In 1984, the A-Teamer stepped out of the red-striped van and into a studio to film a video called Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool! The relevant section for our Mother's Day purposes (though the whole thing is pretty great in a pre-post-meta-ironic way) is "Treat Your Mother Right." It's an educational ditty about the perils of putting down someone else's mother. FUN FACT: If Wikipedia is to be believed, Ice-T wrote the lyrics!
Think you can do better? We think we can! That's why we created our Mother's Day Gift Guide. It's full of money-saving deals on things moms really want. (Regrettably, no Fabergé eggs are on sale right now, but we're looking for a coupon.)
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