In O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi", explain which is more important:  the spirit in which the young couple exchanges their gifts, or the gifts themselves.Spirit of the gifts

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Actually, in this story, the gifts themselves reveal much about the spirit of giving found in this young married couple.  Delia and Jim, the main characters, have very few resources and even less cash, but are determined to give each other something lovely for Christmas.  They have two things that they cherish:  Delia's long, beautiful hair, and Jim's watch, which is a family heirloom.  Delia, unable to come up with enough cash, and desperate to do so, sells her hair to a wig maker in order to buy Jim a chain for his beloved watch.  Jim, in the meantime, has sold his watch in order to buy Delia combs for her beautiful hair.  Thus, a great deal of irony is revealed when each discover what the other has done.

However, what these gifts reveal is the depths of unselfish love these two share; Jim willingly gives up his most prized, and doubtless, most valuable possession to buy Delia something beautiful for her hair, while she sacrifices her gorgeous hair, which probably provided her with a badly needed sense of self-esteem, to buy him a chain for his watch.  Although the two ended up with items they certainly couldn't use, and perhaps their decisions weren't the wisest ones, they are nonetheless likened to the magi who visited the baby Jesus bearing gifts, and the true spirit of Christmas is revealed. 

iqratariq | Student

in the story "the gift of magi" the gifts are significant in the sense that they reveal love for each other but the most important is the spirit. they exchange gifts to show their love and emotions to ane another. their siprit of giving precious gifts to one another and for that reason selling their own precious poceessions is of value.

gifts themselves have no value because they cannot use them but they reveal that how much they love each other. their love is not selfish one but full of emotions and has the power of sacrifice. they try to show their inner and spiritual love with the help of physical and materialistic things. though they are not successful but have the idea that how much they care and think of one another. 

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The Gift of the Magi

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