On April 10, 1906, The Gift of the Magi was published. It was part of O. Henry's second collection of short stories, The Four Million. I remember reading the story when I was in school. It is unabashedly sentimental, but I like it anyway. It is available on Project Gutenberg.
Do you remember? It's Christmas Eve. A young wife, struggling to make ends meet, is determined to buy her husband the perfect Christmas gift, but all she has been able to save is $1.87. Desperate, she sells her beautiful knee-length hair and buys her husband a watch chain for the gold watch that is his most precious possession. When her husband comes home, he is shocked to see that she has cut her hair, because he has bought her a set of combs that she admired. When his wife gives him his gift, though, his shock gives way to resignation. He has no use for the watch chain, because he has sold his watch to buy the combs. He suggests that they put away their gifts for a while and go on with their lives.
O. Henry concludes:
"... 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. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."O. Henry, (1862-1910)
whose real name was William Sydney Porter, led a tumultuous life. He was an alcoholic and he had financial problems throughout his life. He fled to Honduras in 1896 to avoid prosecution for embezzlement, but returned when he learned that his wife was dying. In Honduras, he wrote Cabbages and Kings, in which he originated the term "banana republic". Between 1903 and 1906, back in the U.S. and out of prison after serving three years, he wrote a weekly story for the New York World.
Altogether, O. Henry wrote more than 600 short stories.