O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi Revisited

“O.Henry (William Sydney Porter) wrote “The Gift of the Magi” for his New York World column in December, 1905. If you know anything about him, you won’t be surprised that O.Henry, who died of cirrhosis five years later, wrote his classic holiday story in a bar, Pete’s Tavern, on 18th Street, near Gramercy Place… O.Henry wrote “The Gift of the Magi” in three hours. Was he drinking that afternoon? Did he feel the emotion of the story as he wrote? Or was he knowingly, cynically, exploiting his readers’ desire for a happy ending in the Christmas season? We’ll never know.I loved the ending and never read it without tearing up.” J. Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

Excerpt: “…O.Henry Wrote His Christmas Classic, ‘The Gift Of The Magi,’ In 1905. In ‘The Gift Of Gifts,’ I Update It. J. Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

“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.

The Magi. image- englishatstjohns.wikispace

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.

O.Henry (William Sydney Porter) 1862-1910

Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi. For years, I wanted to update “The Gift of the Magi.” Like O.Henry, I was slow to get to it. Unlike O.Henry, some of my story is nonfiction… Unlike O.Henry, it took me more than three hours to write my story. And as for the emotion: yes, I felt it, all of it. As I hope you do.”


Gift of the Magi by O. Henry Lesson Plan with Answer Key


Category: Holidays