Summary and Analysis: <i>Medicine for Melancholy</i>
On Christmas Eve in the year 2052, a family finds it necessary to make a rocket flight to Mars. The parents are very worried because this will be their son's first flight into space. They want to give him a wonderful Christmas in space, complete with a Christmas tree and gifts. However, regulations concerning weight limit in the rocket make this last plan an impossibility. The young boy is not disappointed on Christmas morning, though, for his Christmas gift is a look through the ship's only porthole: He will be able to see the billions of stars that burn like candles.
"The Gift" is another of the stories exhibiting the great value that Bradbury perceives in the space program. Being in space and seeing the universe from this perspective become a religious experience for the boy in this story. Here, the wonder of the first star of long years ago, the Christmas star, is replaced by the boy's delight at seeing billions of fire-like stars in the midnight of space. Bradbury believes that the only salvation of humanity ultimately depends upon our conquest of space. The more that we travel in space, the more religious Bradbury feels we will become. So it is, then, that the young boy's Christmas experience in space is a religious experience indeed.