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O. Henry originated the idea that the three wise men or magi brought gifts to baby Jesus after his birth, as recounted in the Christian Bible. This story of the magi bringing gifts to the newborn Jesus is believed to have inspired the modern tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas Day.
By saying the magi “invented the art of giving Christmas presents,” O. Henry was suggesting that their gift-giving set the precedent for the custom of presenting gifts to celebrate Christmas.