Monday, December 19, 2011

Unwrapping: "The Gift of the Magi" and Giving Gifts

I remember reading THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O. Henry when I was a teenager and being touched by the sentimental logic behind the story. I remember thinking how sweet, how romantic and how meaningful those gifts became even though they couldn't be used until her hair grew long and he bought another watch. I had an all new appreciation for it's the thought that counts. I began to view gift giving in a whole new light. After reading it, I tried to give my family and friends gifts that would mean something special rather than merely fulfill a need. I would think long and hard about the gifts I gave. I would try to find a gift that the person was least likely to obtain for themselves but wished to have - if it fit into my budget, of course.  I still approach my gift giving in this same way every year. It's tough to do sometimes and sometimes, I have to revert to giving something that's more a necessity than a need but at least I try.

I try because I love sentimental gifts, gifts that when I look at them or wear them remind me of the person who gave it to me. I am always hoping those that give me gifts are looking past my needs to my wishes.  I guess that's what remains of my reading THE GIFT OF THE MAGI.

I'm reminded of the narrator's remark at the end:

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, THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

Less than a week remains until Christmas Day, would you be willing to sacrifice something important, something you cherish, in order to purchase a very special gift for the one you love?

Do you think long and hard about the one you're gifting to at Christmas? Do you give a gift of sentiment that comes from the heart or just follow a list of wants and needs?
Have you ever gotten a gift that you not only cherished but resulted in a turning point in your relationship?

I hope the true meaning of the Gift of the Magi settles in your hearts this Christmas Season.

Happy Reading and gift shopping ... time's running out!  Merry Christmas everyone!


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