Della and Jim Dillingham Young are poor and have two possessions that they value. Della's long, beautiful hair and Jim's gold watch are their only expensive things. It is Christmas time and they live in a shabby apartment, but they both want to get the other a present. This story takes place in the early 1900's.
Della really wants to get Jim a present that is worthy of being owned by him. She is really sad because the only money that she has is $1.87 to use on the present, which won't be enough for the kind of present she wants to get done.
Della and Jim can't afford much, because they are so poor. They are very careful with their money, but they still want to get each other a Christmas present.
Della decides to cut off her hair and sell it for $20. She wants to use that money to but Jim a Christmas present, a fob chain.
Della tells Jim that she cut off her hair, and then he was surprised because he sold his gold watch to get Della a Christmas gift. The gift he got her was a set of combs for her long hair, and she had gotten him a fob chain for his gold watch.
Della and Jim were happy with their gifts and were happy that they had thought of the each other and cared for each other like that. They were willing to sacrifice their loved possessions for the other. They just went to go eat and to enjoy Christmas.