The Gift of the Magi Revisited
Jennifer Le Blanc
Based on the short story: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
An old man enters wearing a coat and hat. Young
Della sits at a desk looking at a bank statement.
Twenty-eight dollars and eighty seven cents.
$28.87 saved cent by cent with coupons, bonus rewards
cards, Group on, and, wellwhispering
by purchasing groceries with food stamps.
Della checked three times, and tomorrow would be
Christmas. Clearly, there was nothing to do but flop
down at the kitchen table and howl. So she did.
He crosses to the door.
The letters above the buzzer read Mr. & Mrs. James
Young. It was written at a moment of newlywed bliss
when they were working at a dotcom, fore-casting
brilliant futures of a novelist and his fashion
designer wife. But the bubble burst. Della began
collecting unemployment and Mr. Jim Young put his
gripping novel aside. It’s hard to type when your
fingers are crossed for temp work, and you need a
printed sample to submit to publishers. The printer was
the last of many things to find their way to the pawn
shops in the Mission-
Oh, Jim! I want so much to give you something
meaningful this Christmas, something that might just go
a little way to being worthy of you.
Now, these two lovebirds have two possessions of which
they are rightly proud. One is Jim’s laptop, on which
is the manuscript of America’s next great novel.
Della gets her dress out of the bag. She holds it
up to herself and looks in the mirror.
The other was Della’s great aunt’s ballgown. Della’d
worn it for her wedding.
Still smells like Aunt Mae. $186 during the height of
the Great Depression.
It was worn twice a year. Once for their anniversary
and once for Christmas Eve, when she would cook his
favorite meal, wear the dress, and he would read her
the novel that would change the world.
Della gets her cell phone and a business card out
of her purse.
Hello, may I please speak to Mrs. Sofronie? This is
Della Young. You inquired about my vintage
dress? Depression era, champagne satin, hand stitched
beading, real pearls… You offered me $200.
Yes, that’s the one. I’ve… changed my mind.
Yes. You aren’t open now are you? You are! I’ll be
She starts to grab her purse, put on coat, etc.
Oh! I hate to ask, but you don’t ever pay in cash, do
you? Oh, thank you! Yes, I’ll hurry!
At the consignment shop, an assistant snatched the
dress and gave her a sealed envelope.
Old Jim acts as if he’s the annoyed assistant.
Took you long enough. I’d like to celebrate too, you
know. Merry Christmas.
She watches as the dress is carried
off-stage. Jim enters as Best Buy Clerk with all
the warmth of a late night holiday hire.
BEST BUY CLERK
Welcome to Best Buy. Thank you for being patient with
our long lines. We have a lowest price guarantee…
thingy. How can I help you?
Do you still have the latest HP Printer on sale?
BEST BUT CLERK
We got one left. You want ink?
How much is it? I have to leave some money for dinner.
BEST BUY CLERK
Okay, printer is $75, Ink $25, plus tax. Dress was
$200, so that leaves-
Yeah, um, there’s a long line, so…
Yes, yes, I’ll take it.
Okay that’s $108.75.
Della opens the envelope.
She looks again in disbelief.
Seventy five? But we… I mean… Two hundred-
Miss? Hey. You okay?
Um. No, actually.
Do you still want the printer, cuz the line is kinda
Can you- can you put part of it on my card, and part in
cash? Can you do that?
He rolls his eyeballs, sighs. She begins to cry.
He hands her a bag with a printer in it. She
flies back to the apartment. Christmas music
plays. She puts out a candle and a box of cereal.
She quickly puts on a dress. She looks in the
What could I do? $28.87. Please, let him still think
Old Jim takes off his glasses and becomes young
Jim, enters flowers in hand. He just stares at
her. Confused? Upset?
Della, don’t break a man’s heart. Let’s celebrate
Christmas! Where’s your dress?
He looks around.
Well, there’s no use looking around for it, Jim. I
sold it. It went to get you a present! You’ve worked
so hard this year. You deserve something
wonderful. Say Merry Christmas and let’s be
happy! Come on, I’m still me in this dress, aren’t I?
You sold it?
Oh, honey, that dress got a high price, but it’s not
worth a tenth of what you are to me.
He grabs her and hugs her hard.
Don’t get me wrong, Dell, you could be wrapped in
burlap and I’d only see the most beautiful bride the
world has ever known, it’s just… Well, let’s
He hands her a satin jewelry purse. She sees the
vintage earrings that match the dress. She
squeeks! She starts to put them on…
Oh Jim! You got them! Oh God they’ll go perfectly
She looks in the mirror and realizes what she’s
They’re perfect, Jim. You know how much I wanted
them. How did you-? I’ll get it back, Jim. Before
anyone buys it, you’ll see. I’ll work so hard, so very
hard. Well, if we’re giving gifts, it’s your
turn! Wait until you see! You just wait!
She brings him the bag. He pulls out the printer.
And the ink! We’ve still got some paper. Grab that
laptop, and print chapter one! I want you to read a
hard copy tonight.
Della, honey, let’s eat. I’m starving. Thank you, I
don’t deserve you.
No shyness now, young man, I want prose with my
cornflakes! I want to hear the the whirr of the
She reaches into his messenger bag.
Where’s your laptop?
In the window of Mission Jewelry & Loan. Oh, honey, the
places I temp always have a computer for me to use, and
my book is stored somewhere safely in the cloud. It’ll
all work out in the end. Now, I’d like to eat some
cereal with the most generous, stunning woman in the
world, and the love of my life.
They kiss. They both put on hats and coats and
become older versions of Jim and Della
“Magi” is a fancy word for the Wisemen who came to
visit Jesus in the manger. Some people suggest that
their offerings are the derivation of the tradition of
gift-giving for the holidays.
In the Judeo-Christian faiths, but don’t let that
bother you if it’s not your cup of tea. I’m agnostic
myself, and Jim’s a Buddhist.
Let’s not get religious.
You’re the one who brought up Jesus.
And here we have lamely attempted to relate to you the
uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a
Who most unwisely sacrificed for eachother the greatest
treasures of their house.
But in a 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 receive gifts they were the wisest, such as
they were wisest.
Everywhere they are wisest.
They are the magi.
Jennifer LeBlanc, ShotzSF: A Very Special Holiday Shotz Dec '12
The Gift of the Magi Revisited by Jennifer LeBlanc
The Gift of the Magi Revisited