What does Jim do to get Della's gift?  

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Jim and Della are an extremely poor couple, who both struggle to get their significant other the perfect Christmas present with the limited funds they have. Jim is infatuated with Della's beautiful, long hair and decides to sell his prized possession and family heirloom to purchase a magnificent set of bejeweled combs for his wife. Jim's only valuable item is his gold watch, which originally belonged to his grandfather. Ironically, Della sold her beautiful locks in order to buy Jim an expensive golden chain for his valuable watch. Whenever Jim comes home, he is astonished to discover that Della has cut her hair. After Della opens Jim's gift, she shows him the watch chain she purchased with the money from her hair and Jim simply smiles as he sits down on the couch. Although both presents were virtually useless, Della and Jim are considered wise for selflessly giving gifts of love, which make them similar to the magi.

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In order to purchase Della's gift (the beautiful, jeweled pair of tortoiseshell combs for her hair), Jim sells his most prized possession: the gold watch that once belonged to his father and grandfather. In an incredible irony, Della actually sells her long, brown tresses in order to purchase a gold chain worthy of Jim's watch, a chain so nice that it would no longer embarrass Jim to take out the watch in company. Della's gorgeous hair and Jim's golden watch were the two most cherished possessions the Dillinghams had, and yet each partner was willing to part with the item they love most for the person they love most. In the end, this is what makes them "wisest," wiser even than the wise men: they are willing to sacrifice an object for which they care deeply for the person whose love means more than any object.

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