The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry
Della Timeline and Summary
- It's Christmas Eve, and Della finds herself with just $1.87 to by her beloved Jim a Christmas present.
- She hurls herself on the couch and cries.
- Della collects herself, and looks out the window, pondering the situation.
- Apparently she has an idea, and turns to the pier-glass. She lets down her hair – her prize possession – and looks at it one last time.
- After putting her hair back in place and bundling up, Della leaves the flat and goes to Madame Sofronie's, where she sells her hair for $20.
- Della shops for two hours, and finally finds the perfect gift for Jim: a platinum chain for his watch. She buys it for $21.
- Happy with her find, Della goes back to the flat and attends to her short, decimated hair. She curls it – apparently she's going for the "truant schoolboy" look (20).
- Della prepares the coffee and gets the stove ready to cook the chops. At 7pm, with Della waiting by the door, Jim comes home.
- Della is confused by Jim's shocked reaction to her hair: she can't quite make out what he's feeling.
- After coming back to earth, he gives her a present and tells her it will all make sense when she opens it.
- Della tears open the present and finds in it a set of combs for her hair that she's long desired. She shrieks with delight, and then dissolves into hysteria.
- Jim comforts her.
- It's now time for Jim's present, which Della gives to him. Jim smiles and tells Della that he sold his watch to buy her the combs.
- We learn from the narrator that, apparently, Della is one of the magi.