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The Gift of the Magi (Upper-Intermediate – B2)

The Gift of the Magi - Transcript

“The Gift of the Magi” is a timeless short story by the American writer O. Henry. It is a simple tale that explores the true meaning of selfless love and sacrifice. Set in the early 20th century, it follows the impoverished but deeply devoted young couple, Jim and Della Young. With Christmas approaching, each desperately wants to buy the perfect gift for the other. However, financial constraints force them to make extraordinary sacrifices. Della sells her long, beautiful hair to buy a chain for Jim’s prized pocket watch. Jim sells his watch to purchase combs for Della’s hair. Their gifts become unusable due to the sacrifices they made for each other. The story’s enduring message is that love and the willingness to sacrifice for the happiness of others is a true gift, far more valuable than material possessions.

The Gift of the Magi - Video

The Gift of the Magi - Video Gap Fill

Why not try a Video Gap Fill assignment based on this lesson?

Classic Christmas Stories for English Language Learners

Story of Christmas dinner

Christmas is a happy time, and one special thing we do is share stories that make us feel good. Let’s talk about some famous Christmas stories that people have loved for a long time. These stories have important lessons that have made people think carefully about the true meaning of Christmas.

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“A Christmas Carol” is a very old story by Charles Dickens. It’s about a man named Scrooge who doesn’t like Christmas. But on Christmas Eve, he meets three ghosts who show him the past, present, and future. Scrooge learns to be kind and generous. This story is about how anyone can change, and it’s never too late to be a better person.

2. The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann

“The Nutcracker” is a magical story about a girl named Clara who gets a special nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. The doll comes to life, and Clara goes on a magical adventure to the Land of Sweets. This story is full of fun characters and exciting scenes. It teaches us to use our imagination and believe in magical things during the holiday season.

3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

“The Polar Express” is a story about a boy who takes a magical train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. He meets Santa Claus and sees amazing things. This story is about believing in the magic of Christmas and keeping the joy in our hearts. It reminds us that as long as we believe, Christmas will always be special.

4. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

“The Snowman” is a lovely story without words. It’s about a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life. They go on a fun adventure together. This story is about friendship, using our imagination, and enjoying simple things. It shows us that the holidays are a time to celebrate being together.

The Snowman

5. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

“The Little Match Girl” is a sad story about a poor girl trying to sell matches on a cold night. Nobody helps her, but she finds comfort in lighting matches to imagine warmth. In the end, she sees a beautiful vision and peacefully goes away. This story teaches us to be kind and help those who need it during the holidays.


These Christmas stories are special because they teach us about love, kindness, and joy. People of all ages love these stories, and they make our hearts feel warm and happy. So, during this holiday season, read these stories and let the magic of Christmas fill your heart with joy and happiness.

More Holiday Lessons for English Learners



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