The Gift of the Magi book summary by O. Henry

“The Gift of the Magi” is a heartwarming short story written by O. Henry, the pen name of William Sydney Porter. 

First published in 1905, this classic tale explores themes of love, selflessness, and the true meaning of gift-giving during the holiday season.

TitleThe Gift of the Magi
AuthorO. Henry
PublisherCandlewick; Illustrated edition (September 9, 2008)
File Formatpdf
Number of pages40 pages
Customer Reviews4.5 out of 5 stars 4,880 Reviews
information about the gift of the magi by O. Henry

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The Gift of the Magi book summary by O. Henry

The story is set on Christmas Eve and follows a young, impoverished couple, Jim and Della Young. 

They live in a modest apartment and are deeply in love, but their financial situation is dire. 

Jim’s income has been reduced, and they struggle to make ends meet.

As Christmas approaches, Jim and Della want to give each other meaningful gifts to express their love. 

However, they face a dilemma due to their limited resources. 

Della decides to sell her most prized possession, her long, beautiful hair, to a wig-maker in exchange for $20.

While Jim decides to part with his most treasured possession, a gold pocket watch passed down to him by his father, to buy Della a special gift.

On Christmas morning, Jim and Della exchange their gifts. Della has purchased a fine chain for Jim’s watch, while Jim has bought beautiful combs for Della’s hair. 

Both gifts are rendered useless because of the sacrifices each has made for the other, yet their love and selflessness shine through.

The story concludes with the realization that their gifts, though materially worthless, are the most valuable treasures because they symbolize the depth of their love and sacrifice for one another. 

Their acts of giving, despite their personal sacrifices, embody the true spirit of Christmas.

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The Gift of the Magi book summary by O. Henry free online read


“The Gift of the Magi” is a timeless story that continues to resonate with readers, reminding us of the profound impact of selfless love and the true value of the gifts we give from the heart. 

O. Henry’s masterful storytelling skillfully captures the essence of the holiday season and the enduring power of love.


What is the main theme of “The Gift of the Magi”?

The main theme of the story is the sacrificial love between the two main characters, Jim and Della.

How do Jim and Della’s gifts symbolize their love for each other?

Jim sells his pocket watch to buy combs for Della’s long hair, while Della sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s pocket watch. 

What is the significance of the title “The Gift of the Magi”?

The title alludes to the biblical story of the Three Wise Men, or Magi, who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

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