Kindness Stories – Story #4 : “The Gift of the Magi”

“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. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.”
Gift of the Magi
Reading: What could be more appropriate this week than to read this story, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, long considered a Christmas classic! Find it online here. I encourage you to read it with fresh eyes, even if you have read it before. Per usual, pay attention to where your thoughts take you as you read.

Stories Journal: Tell the story of a favorite gift you received or a favorite one you gave. Write with genuine warmth in your heart and a smile on your face.

Kind Action: Assuming you give holiday gifts, take time this week to give a very specific gift that comes from the deepest place in your heart. For extra credit, give something that in some way causes you to give something up. See if doing so helps you get something back.

Comments Section: Write about what this story means to you. It may help to read this take on Christmas from Krista Tippett.


  1. A Tale of Two Christmas Trees: A favorite gift given and received took place before the first Christmas my husband and I shared together as financially struggling university students. We both worked part-time and took classes full-time. One of my co-workers found out we had not gotten a Christmas tree. We couldn’t afford one; so she bought us one. It stood 8 feet tall or taller and filled half our living room. I bought some lights at the downtown five and dime store but couldn’t buy enough strings of lights to properly cover the tree with enough. Soon thereafter, I can’t recall how soon after, another friend, who also knew of our economic situation, came to visit bringing a tree she and her family had cut down in the Wasatch mountains near her home. The tree was perfect for our small apartment! Once we had no tree and now we had two! But what to do with the other tree? We learned that a family with a few small children still had no Christmas tree, with the help and blessing of the giver of the first tree, my husband, friend, and I gave the taller tree to this needy family. It was perfect for the them and it filled their mostly barren family dining room with holiday cheer.

  2. Ah, Christmas gifts and what they mean…. they have lost meaning for me. I think Krista Tippett’s thoughts rather closely mirror my own. The older I get the harder gift giving at Christmas became, so we more or less stopped giving gifts at Christmas. That was easy to do because Tommy and I started leaving in mid December for our winter ski destination, thus we were not with family.

    However one year our children and grandchildren came to be with us over the holiday in Colorado and no one wanted to bring lots of gifts, so we did a Chinese auction. IF you have never played, it is great fun and keeps the costs down greatly. Everyone brings an ageless gift, including food, games, toys or whatever and then we get numbers and draw either an unwrapped gift or can take someone else’s gift. If your gift is taken you get to take someone else’s or take one still unwrapped. Not being raised in a religious family, always for me Christmas was about children and surprises. So now I enjoy most giving unexpected gifts.

    Last year in late summer my husband and I decided that our refrigerator really needed to be replaced and our dishwasher was no longer washing dishes well, so we planned to buy both. Around the same time but before we bought, our son’s dishwasher was also on its last legs and our daughter’s rrefrigerator was giving up the ghost. So… we gave a new stove and diswasher to our son’s family, and a new refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher to our daughter’s family. Now for me giving Christmas presents or what I am now calling “I love you” presents can occur any time of the year, especially when there is a need there.

    I think that is the beauty of “The Gift of the Maji.” When there is a need, and you can fulfilll, especially, it in the absence of any expectation from the reciever, it is a gift to yourself as well. It really is a treat to be able to give from the inner part of yourself without relying on Christmas, birthdays, or any real occasion other than your loving feelings for someone else, whether it be a homeless person, a neighbor or a relative.

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