Most people are aware of the expression “It's the thought that counts,” meaning that it's not what you give that matters but the thought behind it. And this longstanding truism undoubtedly constitutes one of the main themes of “The Gift of the Magi” by O.Henry.
Both the characters in the story, Della and Jim, inadvertently give each other worthless gifts for Christmas. Della buys Jim a chain for his watch by using the proceeds from selling her hair to an upscale salon. At the same time, Jim, blissfully unaware of what Della has done, buys his wife a set of fancy combs using the money he received from selling his watch. Each wanted to give the other something special for Christmas, but now they've both been lumbered with things they can't actually use.
But in the final analysis, none of this matters. In giving each other worthless gifts, Jim and Della may not have been wise; but, as the narrator points out, they nonetheless showed wisdom in selling the most valuable thing they...
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