Many people would consider the story, “The Gift of Magi”, an act of foolishness, but there is more to the tale than unreasonable foolishness. The sacrifices the main characters, Jim and Della Dillingham Young, made for each other were what many people would call an act of true love and generosity. They had no money for Christmas, although they did have something of substance to trade. Della had her long, beautiful hair and Jim had his pocket watch. They “sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house” (161). Jim and Della gave all they had for each other. According to O. Henry, they could be considered Magi. The Dillingham Young’s did not stop to consider how they would be affected. They thought of each other’s happiness before their own. Instead, they sell their “greatest treasures” to buy the other a gift for Christmas. The story of “The Gift of the Magi” shows the underlying meaning to be truly wealthy and to sacrifice everything for it. Wealth is more than money to countless people. Love and happiness is the key to wealth. Jim and Della may not have money but they are indeed wealthy. Love is more important than any possession or gift anyone can contain. O. Henry illustrated that within “The Gift of the Magi”. He showed that love and happiness is the true wealth of life by using literary elements like symbolism, the type of narrator, and irony.
In the beginning, the story tells about how Della does not have any money to purchase a gift for her husband,