I just finished a beautiful book recommended by one of my favorite reading friends, who said she planned to give several copies as Christmas gifts. Kate DeCamillo's lovely book The Magician's Elephant could almost be described as a fairy tale. The story is tender, uplifting, and beautifully written. The main character (unless you count the elephant) gives money entrusted to him for the purchase of food to a fortuneteller instead, learning--if she tells the truth--that his sister lives.
A number of lives intertwine, including a magician who conjures an elephant when he only intended a bouquet. It's one of those books you can almost read in a single sitting, but also one that bears reading again and again. I think it will find a place on my gift list too.