Friday, December 19, 2014

On the Sixth Day of a Feminine Christmas

This illustration was taken from my copy of Tasha Tudor's Christmas book, Take Joy, which is a charming compilation of traditional Christmas fables.  This is Della from the O. Henry short story, The Gift of the Magi.  She is counting her coins to buy her beloved husband Jim, a Christmas present.  This interpretation sold the book to me because Tasha put Della in a miniskirt in an otherwise traditional "Tasha" book.  As you know, Tasha lived her life as an 1830's woman and yet this book, published in 1966, was at the heyday of the mini, and that's why I find the illustration so intriguing.

Most likely you've read The Gift of the Magi.  The first time I read it I found it completely endearing - its twist ending is known as comic irony and the story is a splendid example.  O. Henry was said to have written the Edwardian-era story in a pub one night.  Sometimes writing is like flows freely to perfection but it really doesn't happen all that often.

What's really perfect though, is the young love between Jim and Della and the lengths they go to find each other's heart's desire in the form of Christmas presents.  It's also about sacrifice because Jim and Della both sacrifice things they each hold very dear to make the other happy.

I enjoy a re-read of this enchanting classic every Christmas...for the reminder of an Edwardian couple's true holiday spirit as well as another peek at a 1966 Della. 

1 comment:

  1. This charming post reminded me to get out my own copy and re-read it. It's a lovely story and Tasha's illustrations are very charming, too. Hugs, K