There are basically two characters in the story, Jim and Delia Young, the young married couple who makes such great sacrifices in order to buy gifts for each other. The only other character in the story is Madame Sofronie, the owner of the hair shop in which Delia sells her hair. Sofronie likely wanted the hair to produce a very fine wig.
Delia Young is a beautiful young woman who has worked hard and scraped together what meager savings she can to buy her husband Jim a gift but has come up with less than two dollars, not nearly enough to get him what she would like to.
Jim Young is a hard-working and handsome man who is also described as being very quiet and extremely reliable. He has two valuable possessions in his life, the most valuable by far being his wife the second a beautiful watch given to him by his father.