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The Gift of the Magi

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  64,199 Ratings  ·  1,021 Reviews
PYoung couple prepares for Christmas Day. But with no money, how can either Della or Jim buy a proper gift for the other? The young couple possesses only two items of value#58; Jim's gold watch and Della's wondrous hair. Yet as Christmas Day nears, through blind generosity and love, Della and Jim become the wisest of gift givers./p pThis inspired adaptation breathes new li ...more
ebook, 1 page
Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (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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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
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  ·  review of another edition
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..
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Perfect for the holiday season and getting into the spirit of Christmas. Very sweet story.
Paula
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Trish
Dec 05, 2015 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)!
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
Aug 14, 2013 Yianna Yiannacou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Joseph Fountain
Dec 24, 2015 Joseph Fountain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 one, 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 ...more
Toni
Dec 07, 2011 Toni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
SkeletalGarden.
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
Thing Two
Mar 01, 2013 Thing Two rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kaethe
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
kira
Dec 28, 2011 kira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alexandra
Dec 20, 2015 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-books
This was a nice story. I had never read this or even heard the story, but I kind of knew how it would end. It was short and sweet and I think represents what Christmas is really about.
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Goodreads Librari...: Cover for russian edition of The Gift of the Magi 3 12 Jan 04, 2015 03:57AM  
It's the thought that counts 8 94 Nov 26, 2014 11:01AM  
Cafe Libri: Holiday Read: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry 4 5 Nov 24, 2014 09:33PM  
italki English Re...: December Read Along 6 11 Dec 05, 2013 02:54PM  
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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 uncle's drugs
...more
More about O. Henry...

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“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” 744 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.” 21 likes
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