Saturday, December 3, 2011


The season quickly approaches when we are bombarded with a plethora of holiday  stories from Dickens’ Christmas Carol to Dr. Suess’  Grinch, reminding us to be kind and love one another. Each year at this time, I am reminded of a story that touched my heart above any other and continues to bring tears to my eyes every time I read it. It’s a story of unselfish love, sacrificial love, the kind of love we all would love to experience and the kind we all should emulate but few of us do in our  world of ever increasing  “me first.”

I refer, of course, to O. Henry’s classic short story, THE GIFT OF THE MAJI, a literary masterpiece of little more than 2,000 words, and one which greatly inspired my hero’s act of sacrificial love in FORTUNE’S SON.

Brief synopsis:
Young married couple Della and Jim are very much in love despite the hardship of their hand to mouth existence. Although they can barely afford their shabby one-room apartment due to Jim's recent pay cut, each are determined to buy a Christmas gift for one another which requires a huge personal sacrifice under their strained circumstances. (Anything more will be a  spoiler.)The story ends with the narrator comparing the pair's mutually sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi. 

For those of you who never read this story, my holiday gift to you is a link to it: .

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season blessed with family friends and hearts full of genuine love.


  1. What a wonderful reminder, Emery. I'd forgotten this story until you mentioned it and it's one of my favorites. I'm a big O. Henry fan. I convinced my kids when they were sick that they'd get well faster if they read "The Ransom of Red Chief."
    I'm pulling my Complete Works of O.Henry from the bookcase and reading "The Gift of the Magi" again this holiday season.
    Merry Chistmas to you and your family!

  2. Hi Carolyn! I love the story as well. First read it when I was about 10 years old and I cried! Amazing considering it's such a short story! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. Emery, thanks for reminding me of this wonderful story. It puts me right in the Christmas spirit - and I'm going shopping today!

  4. Sounds wonderful. It is good to remember the important gifts of Christmas all come from the heart!

  5. Emery, the thing about this story that leaves me dumbstruck is its brevity. It poleaxes us with the impact of its message, a big twist with not much room for set up at all. If he'd not written anything else in his entire life, O. Henry would deserve a place on the keeper shelves because of this one story.

  6. I agree! This is a beautiful and memorable story.

    Great post, Emery!