Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favourite Christmas Story -- number 5

This is my fifth favourite Christmas Story of all times. THE GIFT OF THE MAGI tells the sweet tale of young married couple Della and Jim. It is almost Christmas, and Della wants to buy Jim the greatest gift in the world, something "fine and rare and sterling -- something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim." But all the money that Della has is one dollar and eighty-seven cents. There was no gift she could buy for such a paltry sum!

Two fine things Jim and Della owned. One was Jim's watch, the marvelous gold watch that belonged to his father and his grandfather. The other was Della's hair, fine brown hair that hung to her knees.

In a flash of inspiration Della finds the means of procuring enough money to purchase a fine chain upon which Jim could hang his gold watch. She waits for Jim to come home from work, and when he does nothing could have prepared either of them for the twist of fate that their love for each other wrought.

This is one of the best and dearest stories about unselfishness and love. Jim and Della love each other so much that they are willing to part with their greatest treasures in order to give something great, something beautiful, to the person they love so much.

Luckily, you can read this story online here, which is wonderful because it is a sentimental and gorgeous little story. There are two book versions of the tale that I utterly love. One is illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, and the other copy is illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

This story is just beautifully written, and Della and Jim are such sweethearts that you can't help but feel that the world would be a sweeter place if people were more like them. The style is gentle and poignant, and Della's shining love shines through this story like a beacon, illuminating Jim's character and bringing a smile and a little tear of beauty to your eye.

"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."
~ O. Henry 


  1. Years and years ago, Focus on the Family did this story as an Adventures in Odyssey episode. It was just as funny and heartwarming as the original story, complete with impertinent sound effects. :-)

  2. Isn't it the greatest story? I absolutely love it.


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