It’s Christmas season folks! The festivities are in full effect, the markets are buzzing, business is booming and families are getting back together for the holidays, while waiting for New Year’s. We often find ourselves wanting to express our affection and love towards one another by purchasing gifts and Christmas is the season to do so.
Supposedly, it all started with the wise men or “Magi”, bearing really valuable presents for the young Child. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. One thousand and five years later, O. Henry published a short story named “The Gift of the Magi”, a story about a young couple and how they dealt with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.
On Christmas night, with only $1.87 in hand, and desperate to find a gift for her husband Jim, Della sells her beautiful long natural hair for $20 to a nearby hairdresser, and eventually finds a platinum fob chain for Jim's pocket watch for $21 and she was delighted with the perfect gift she got for him, although she was left with just change. Unusually late on the same evening, the husband walks in and immediately stops short at the sight of Della, who she now had short curly hair, almost like a young boy’s haircut, but she was praying that she was still pretty to his eyes. She then admits to Jim that she sold her hair to raise the money needed for his present. Jim proceeds by presenting Della her gift – an assortment of high quality combs, utterly useless now that her hair is gone. When her turn comes to unveil Jim’s gift, the platinum chain she bought for him, her partner admits that he sold his watch to get the money to buy her ornamental combs. Although Jim and Della are now left with gifts that neither one can use, gifts that were too expensive and unnecessary to begin with, almost foolish one could say, they now realize how far they are willing to go to show their love for each other, and how priceless their love really is, while material possessions, even if they were the most prized ones, don’t actually matter.
The story ends with the narrator comparing the sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi. It’s a great story set in the holiday season that can teach us a valuable lesson. Sharing moments is all that matters. Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Posted by Dimitris Gravias
Watch collector and founder of the “Greece Watch Club”