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The Gift of the Magi

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4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  67,950 Ratings  ·  1,138 Reviews
One dollar and eight-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure -- her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published December 10th 1905)
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Chirine Mariposa The story opens with $1.87. That's all Della Dillingham Young has to buy a present for her beloved husband, Jim. And the next day is Christmas. Faced…moreThe story opens with $1.87. That's all Della Dillingham Young has to buy a present for her beloved husband, Jim. And the next day is Christmas. Faced with such a situation, Della promptly bursts into tears on the couch, which gives the narrator the opportunity to tell us a bit more about the situation of Jim and Della. The short of it is they live in a shabby flat and they're poor. But they love each other.
Once Della's recovered herself, she goes to a mirror to let down her hair and examine it. Della's beautiful, brown, knee-length hair is one of the two great treasures of the poor couple. The other is Jim's gold watch. Her hair examined, Della puts it back up, sheds a tear, and bundles up to head out into the cold. She leaves the flat and walks to Madame Sofronie's hair goods shop, where she sells her hair for twenty bucks. Now she has $21.87 cents.
With her new funds, Della is able to find Jim the perfect present: an elegant platinum watch chain for his watch. It's $21, and she buys it. Excited by her gift, Della returns home and tries to make her now-short hair presentable She's not convinced Jim will approve, but she did what she had to do to get him a good present. When she finishes with her hair, she gets to work preparing coffee and dinner.
Jim arrives at 7pm to find Della waiting by the door and stares fixedly at her, not able to understand that Della's hair is gone. Della can't understand quite what his reaction means.
After a little while, Jim snaps out of it and gives Della her present, explaining that his reaction will make sense when she opens it. Della opens it and cries out in joy, only to burst into tears immediately afterward. Jim has given her the set of fancy combs she's wanted for ages, only now she has no hair for them . Once she's recovered she gives Jim his present, holding out the watch chain. Jim smiles, falling back on the couch. He sold his watch to buy Della's combs, he explains. He recommends they put away their presents and have dinner. As they do so, the narrator brings the story to a close by pronouncing that Della and Jim are the wisest of everyone who gives gifts. They are the magi.
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Community Reviews

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Lawyer
Dec 24, 2011 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Miss Robins, English Teacher, Seventh Grade
O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," illustrated by Lizabeth Zwerger was among my gifts to my wife our first Christmas together. It is one of our annual traditions that I read it to her each Christmas. Yes, I'm hopelessly romantic. I imagine we'll finally hit a year when I hear a gentle snore when she nods off as I'm reading.

"ONE dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and
...more
Dem
Dec 18, 2015 Dem rated it really liked it
What a wonderful little book for the Christmas season. I really enjoyed this little story set on Christmas Eve which tells the story of the true meaning of gift giving.

I listened to this version and what a treat it was and I loved the little twist.

Thank you to my Good Read Friends Diane and Carol for bringing this little book to my attention as I had never heard of it before.

I hope to source a couple of copies of this for Christmas gifts as I think this little book would make a perfect present f
...more
Carol
Dec 05, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
First published in 1905, this delightful little story (with a twist) depicts the true meaning of love and giving during the Christmas season.

A first time read for me.

Sanjay Gautam
Jun 09, 2015 Sanjay Gautam rated it really liked it
A story that has made a lot of girls cry! :p
A very nice story with an emotional twist.
Diane S ☔
Dec 17, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Shelves: let-it-snow
What a wonderful little heartwarming story. One that represents what I think is the true spirit of Christmas. Sacrifice, giving and love.
Pooja
Oct 16, 2016 Pooja rated it really liked it
Shelves: owns-these-books


I read The Gift of the Magi in my high school. Many short stories will come but this story won't leave my mind.

This couple's gift receiving and giving ideas are so different and fantastic, it can't be put into words.

peiman-mir5 rezakhani
داستانی بسیار زیبا و تأثیر گذار از عشق دختری به نامِ «دلا» و شوهرش «جیم».... هر دو عاشقانه یکدیگر را میپرستند، با آنکه توانایی مالی ندارند و در یک اتاقِ کوچک که تنها یک تخت و یک آیینۀ دیواری شکسته دارد و یک قالیچه قرمز رنگ که در کف اتاق پهن شده، زندگی میکنند
شب کریسمس است... «دلا» تنها یک دلار و هشتاد و هفت سنت دارد، و با این پول نمیتواند برای «جیم» هدیۀ مناسب تهیه کند... ارزشمند ترین دارایی «دلا» موهای بلند و زیبایِ اوست ... لذا موهای خود میفروشد و با پول آن برای «جیم» زنجیر طلایی میخرد تا به سا
...more
Candi
4 stars

"Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. They are the magi."

A lovely short story about the true meaning of Christmas. While caught up in the rush and chaos of the holiday season, I am thankful to be reminded of what is truly important - love, sacrifice and the giving of one's own self to another. Do yourself a favor and take a moment to read this timeless classic!
Duane
Known as a Christmas story but it plays well at any time. O'Henry uses irony to tell a classic story of selfless love, sacrifice, and the power of giving. I can't imagine anyone not liking this story.
KOHEY.Y.
Dec 20, 2015 KOHEY.Y. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
Yes.They are wisest beyond all of time.
Shayantani Das
May 25, 2015 Shayantani Das rated it it was amazing
The number of great stories you can “sneak read” between lectures is surprising :p

It’s equally surprising when short stories manage to melt your heart when sometimes 1000 pages fail to do so. Generally those stories are written my masters like O Henry, Leo Tolstoy, and Guy De Maupassant etc. The Gift of magi is one such story and it is also connected with some amazing memories. 5 stars all the way..
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
December read with my favorite Pantaloonless Group.



Read a book set at Christmas.

God I wish I liked this more. My two stars is a reflection of the quality of the story itself and not what it was trying to say. Though the whole thing was so sweet it was like I fell into a lake of chocolate or something.


This story primarily centers on Christmas and the act of giving, and how love is stronger than material possessions blabiltty blah. It was sweet, but that wasn't my main problem with it. The problem
...more
❀Julie
Dec 24, 2015 ❀Julie rated it really liked it
Perfect for the holiday season and getting into the spirit of Christmas. Very sweet story.
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
I just read the Goodreads description for this story and laughed my ass off:
O. Henry's classic tale of Della and Jim, the struggling newlyweds so anxious to give each other a Christmas gift that each sells the one thing the other holds most dear, receives an oddly lifeless treatment here. Heyer's meticulously detailed illustrations are pretty but stilted; the characters look like mannequins. The rueful Jim fares better than the poor prematurely middle-aged Della, who at times looks more like his
...more
Paula
Dec 16, 2015 Paula rated it really liked it
Wonderful holiday short-story classic. Makes you think about the insignificance of materials things and the happiness sacrificing for your loved ones brings.

4 out of 5 stars.
Emily
May 15, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it
I always make references to this story. It's simple and heartbreaking and wonderful. The ending gives me chills:

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely
...more
Mahdi
Sep 21, 2016 Mahdi rated it liked it
ویلیام سیدنی پورتر، آغازگر داستان های مثلاً اخلاقی زردی که این روزها روی اینترنت می بینیم.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
When I was a young boy and I ran out of books to read I became addicted to comics. Two stories stayed with me all these years, one of them this one by O. Henry. The story was plagiarized. I didn't know it was originally by O. Henry until lately.

The other story went something like this: two guys attempted to commit suicide but failed. They landed in a hospital and their beds adjoined each other in a room. One guy was rich once, with millions and millions, but because of his vices he unwisely squa
...more
Deborah Markus
As part of our homeschooling, I used to have my son read a classic Christmas-related work every year. He was fine when we read A Christmas Carol together several years in a row, because I'm sorry but that never gets old. He liked the Sherlock Holmes story "The Blue Carbuncle." And he giggled at the various parodies I found of "The Night Before Christmas."

However, he started making mutinous noises after he read this story the year before last. And he almost literally threw the book at me after I
...more
Rajtilak Bhattacharjee
Sep 12, 2008 Rajtilak Bhattacharjee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, fiction, romance
This is one book which bring tears in my eyes everytime I read it. The story of a young couple, living their banalities with grace. Who tries to snatch away a happy moment from time, instead what they got was the happiest moment of their lives. Those who have alraedy read the book must be surprised by this comment. But ladies and gentlemen, don't you think that happiness is being in the arms of that someone special instead of a valuable gift. A must read for every love-sick puppy and for all ...more
Trish
Dec 05, 2015 Trish rated it it was amazing
Read thanks to the Literary Advent Calendar by BookRiot.
I had never heard of the story but am so glad I read it. This is a wonderful if short tale about true love and two people making the best of their circumstances. Of course it's also a little tragic but very heartwarming indeed (without being cheesy)!
Willowy Whisper
Sep 13, 2016 Willowy Whisper rated it it was amazing
Cute little story! But gracious, isn't that the saddest thing?
Ardeshir
Jul 06, 2016 Ardeshir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
با اینکه کوتاه بود.ولی نشان دهنده عشق پاک و موندگار بود
عالی بود
Oziel Bispo
Esse pequeno mas incrível conto se passa no começo dos anos 20 , e conta a história de um casal recém casado que enfrenta sérios problemas financeiros , não tendo às vésperas do natal ,dinheiro para comprar o presente um para o outro . Ela tem apenas 1.87 dolar para presentear seu esposo.Ele surpreendido pela avareza do patrão não tem um centavo sobrando. Mas cada um vai abrir mão do que tem de mais precioso para comprar um presente para o seu companheiro. Conto lindo e emocionante! .
Yianna Yiannacou
Nov 22, 2016 Yianna Yiannacou rated it really liked it
The Gift of the Magi. Not too sure why it is called that but I loved this short story nonetheless.

It starts off with a young woman named Della who only had $1.87 to spend on her husband for Christmas. She knows it is not enough to buy him the nice things that she feels he deserves. The love this woman has for her husband is outstanding because in order to make enough money to buy him something nice, she cuts off her hair which is about down to her knees. She received $20 from the hairdresser th
...more
ژیار
Sep 10, 2016 ژیار rated it liked it
''I am the same person without my hair?!''
''They are the magi..''
Leah Good
Dec 23, 2014 Leah Good rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2014
I read this little short story right before I went to sleep last night. It's positively delightful. A perfect, heartwarming illustration of the blessing of giving.
Jen ƸӜƷ
Dec 29, 2015 Jen ƸӜƷ rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful classic of two 'foolish' youth that sell their most precious gifts to give
an equally precious gift to their love. This story epitomizes what gift giving should be and not
what it has become in the modern age. I greatly enjoyed how O. Henry details the room, the clothing, and the scenery outside to give an impression of the lives of Della & Jim. I also loved the story telling of their precious gifts, how the watch came to belong to Jim & how it made him feel dapper despit
...more
Pragya
Dec 21, 2011 Pragya rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those cute stories which make you want to fall in love. Either that or have a really close friend who gives it all up for you. This story is about love, selflessness and sacrifice for the one you love. It is a heart-warming little tale that makes you want to hug both Della and Jim, the characters of the story.
Peggy
Dec 16, 2012 Peggy rated it really liked it
Love this sweet short story. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is that I've always wanted to know more about the main characters: their back story, etc. A classic that should be read each Christmas.
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EVERYONE Has Read...: The Gift of the Magi - *SPOILERS* 3 7 Dec 02, 2016 12:16PM  
EVERYONE Has Read...: The Gift of the Magi - pre-read 4 9 Dec 02, 2016 07:21AM  
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8993
William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.

He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in his uncle's d
...more
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“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” 752 likes
“The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.” 22 likes
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