‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O Henry

This, by O Henry, is an American classic Christmas story. He wasn’t a fabulous writer, but he was a potent writer, famous for his ‘surprise’ endings. Even as I winced at its clunkiness, I found a little tear forming in my eye at the finish.

First published in The New York Sunday World in 1905 and widely collected. Available to read online here. Chosen by Lee Randall