The paradox is that Jim and Della are actually poor. His job earns only enough to eke out an existence while she is a housewife. What did it mean that they were the richest people on earth? Riches don't always refer to money. They are rich in their love for each other. They are rich in the sacrifices they make for the other. They are rich in their wisdom that those gifts, which seemed so useless at the present, will become of great value in the future. Della's hair will grow back, and the combs will enhance her beauty. Jim will redeem his watch at the pawn shop, and the fob will display his beautiful watch. Neither found disappointment that Christmas, only a deep and abiding love for each other.