'The Gift of the Magi' Quotes

O. Henry's Famous Holiday Short Story

The Gift of the Magi
Candlewick Press

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a holiday favorite. The cherished moments in this work have become a Christmas tradition both in the original and many iterations. Do you remember the quotes? Perhaps you've read or heard the lines without even realizing it. Here are a few quotes from the short story and here are some questions to think about.


  • "Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating."
  • "Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds."
  • "She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task."
  • "His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face."
  • "A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on."
  • "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."
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Lombardi, Esther. "'The Gift of the Magi' Quotes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/the-gift-of-the-magi-quotes-741622. Lombardi, Esther. (2020, August 25). 'The Gift of the Magi' Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-gift-of-the-magi-quotes-741622 Lombardi, Esther. "'The Gift of the Magi' Quotes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-gift-of-the-magi-quotes-741622 (accessed March 23, 2023).