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The Gift of the Magi

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  52,673 ratings  ·  760 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 1905)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 24, 2011 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mike 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
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
Shayantani Das
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..
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
Rajtilak Bhattacharjee
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 tho...more
Yianna Yiannacou
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
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 l
The Holy Terror
My enjoyment of this was mostly ruined by the fact that I already knew the ending, and also that I felt I've seen adaptations that were more emotionally impactful, (Mickey and Minnie's version being one of them.) I normally wouldn't be able to connect to a short story in the first place, but I thought the tone and language used pushed me away even further. What exactly was the meaning of the pork chops? (I feel like if I read this in a Literature class the pork chops would mean something ... I'd...more
A story that basically everyone knows well and loves to no end. I decided to read this on Goodreads because there was an eBook available and it was much shorter than I had thought it would be.

Considering the fact that everyone seems to have read this made me feel slightly ridiculous for having not. I know many people consider it to be "the most perfect story ever written", but I didn't feel that.

In my opinion, it seemed reasonable that two people who were blinded by love in love would sacrifice...more
Dec 21, 2011 Pragya rated it 5 of 5 stars
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 Z
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.
Oct 06, 2014 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of O. Henry
Shelves: 2012, christmas
This is a familiar tale, although I don't know if I've read it before or if I'd just heard it. The story has a fairly sophisticated vocabulary, but our girls seemed to get most of the unfamiliar words based on the context.

We read this story while snuggling together in front of the Christmas tree and it made for a heartfelt and poignant storytime. We really enjoyed reading this story together.
Thing Two
It struck me in reading this how much more Jim - the husband - gave up than Della did. Jim gave up something he could not replace, while Della gave up something more temporary. Although, Della was willing to sacrifice something personal.

Interesting 100 year old story. I'm not sure what the Magi has to do with the story, however. This is an American story, commonly re-told at Christmas.
One of my favorites, and this edition of O. Henry's classic is so beautifully illustrated. It never fails to bring on the tears. I used to read this to the fifth graders every year when I was a school librarian. The message is so important, and follows nicely on the heels of the familiar Whos down in Whoville who held hands and sang without packages, boxes, or bags.
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: xmas
I can't even imagine what it must have been like to read this story when it was first published. This, A Christmas Carol, and "It's a wonderful Life" form the trilogy of secular Christmas stories upon which every holiday episode of every sitcom must riff.
A wonderful story about love, sacrifice and the power of giving.
It's a short story but when you read it you get the point immediately,
for me this story is bitter and greater than 100 'long' novels that take you in the whirlpool of repetition and nonsense, and in the end you deduce nothing good.
It's a good story i congratulate the author.
So this was short and sweet. Not really a fan of short stories but I wanted to read something Christmassy during the holidays so this was really fast. The message is nice and the couple is dear. I had no trouble following the tale and so it was nice. Reminding me of what giving gifts and celebrating Christmas is all about.
Nada Elfeituri
I probably would've enjoyed this more if it wasn't part of our English curriculum. High school assignments always suck the fun out of reading with the bland, word-count specific essays.
It's still a beautiful and heart-warming story.
Very short and very sweet Christmas story. I don't want to spoil anything but this is just about a couple and their difficulty to find the money to purchase gifts for each other. That's all I will say, but it is very sweet.
Loved this. What a sweet read :)
Frances Thompson
Hailed as essential reading for those seeking an introduction to short fiction, it's not difficult to see why it's earned this title.

Simple, heart-breaking, relatable and a highly consummable length and pace, The Gift of Magi embodies many of the key elements of popular short stories. There is also the twist at the end and the sense that you are left with a lesson learned.

A short story that has stood the test of time, if you Google the title you'll find it available for free EVERYWHERE, includin...more
They unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But of all who give gifts they were the wisest.

I'm a sucker for books (Brothers K being my most recent) that revolve around the cathartic power of love and sacrifice. Most of us at some point in our lives have felt lonely, insignificant, and hopeless; sometimes we even question whether the world would notice if we weren't in it. Well, there is nothing that is able to make us feel more alive, more signifcant, than whe...more
This is a story about true love and sacrifice. Della is a poor young lady who lived in New York City in a little apartment. She wanted the perfect gift for her soulmate, Mr. Jim for Christmas. ,Unfortunately she had only one dollar and eight cents. she went to the store and bought Jim a gold chain for his pocket watch. Jim came in and he was surprised. Della cried explaining how she sold her beautiful long brown hair in order to buy him this gold chain, but the unexpected surprise was that he so...more

I picked this short book up free on Kindle, as it was mentioned on Glee so I thought I'd check it out. I often check out books I've heard mentioned on TV shows etc lol.

Anyway, this was a nice little story. It's about a couple, who don't have a lot of money, but want to get each other something nice for Christmas. The couple both have one valuable thing each. Her's is her beautiful long hair, his is his grandfathers pocket watch. The story shows Della sell her...more
I heard this story long long time ago as a child, and was really bewitched by it, by the love and sweet self sacrificed to one another. But, since I don't know what's the title and who wrote it, it was a nice suprised when I read this story and found out (why, really, it's called such title??). It was like finding an old friend :)

I hope the best for Jim and Dela. Dela's hair will grow, and soon she'll be wearing that comb he gave. And Jim, ooh, I don't know if he ever got his pocket watch back....more
"Un dollaro e ottantasette centesimi. Tutto lì. E sessanta di quei centesimi erano in infinite monetine. Monetine risparmiate una o due alla volta, contese al droghiere, e al verduraio, e al macellaio, fino a farsi venir rosse le guance per la taciuta accusa di taccagneria che tanto serrate trattative sogliono generare. Della li contò tre volte: un dollaro e ottantasette centesimi. E il giorno dopo sarebbe stato Natale. Chiaramente non c'era altro da fare che crollare sul logoro divanetto e mugg...more
Līga Ločmele
I added this short story to my read shelf only because it is on the list of the books everyone must read... But like it - I did not. It is appraised of being simple, hartfelt, ultimately - a sad Christmas stoy. But to me it seemed more like an extract from something larger; it lacked the masterly wrapping of a short story, the plunge into the characters and story, the feeling like something cold is nibbling at your heart and then, suddenly, it's all over. Instead, it briefly swam about, being qu...more
Sara Alaee
"Let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest... They are the magi."
Ah O. Henry-the king of irony. I loved and hated this story as a kid, the ironic twist was like a kick in the gut each time I read it. I much preferred the "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" take on the story where Bert trades his paper clip collection to Mr. Hooper to buy Ernie a soap dish to hold Rubber Duckie and Ernie trades Rubber Duckie to get a cigar box for Bert to keep his paper clips in but in the end, Mr. Hooper comes over and gives Ernie Rubber Duckie and Bert his paper clip collection...more
This story has been adapted in so many ways. When I read it I already knew what was coming.
But it sure was nice to read it in the original hands.

Here is the most beautiful adaptation I have seen of this story

It's in my native language but I hope you all will enjoy the video.
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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 uncle's drugs...more
More about O. Henry...
Selected Stories The Ransom of Red Chief The Best Short Stories of O. Henry The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories The Last Leaf

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“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” 114 likes
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