Theme 1: Gifts given don’t matter, the love does
James and Della were happy of the other’s love and company even after realizing that the biggest sacrifice they has made became futile. The love and the affection were still there. While some see gifts as only a matter of material and money, “The Gift of the Magi” suggests that gifts that are given don't matter as much as the love behind them does, because gifts are a sign of love between people
O’Henry mentions there wisdom in the story as “… let it be said that of all who give gifts, these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are the wisest. They are the magi.” (Last Paragraph, lines 9 – 11)
Theme 2: Sacrifice
Sacrifice is an important theme of the story “the Gift of the Magi”. The story revolves around it and it is this theme that appeals the readers the most. O’Henry has deftly used poverty and love to make sacrifice. It also gains importance by the ‘O‘Henry twist’, where it becomes futile. Some may believe that sacrifices that are futile are completely wasted, but the love between James and Della in O’Henry’s story “The Gift of the Magi” shows that the love in the sacrifice stops it from becoming futile. One point also worth mentioning is that from the point of view of the reader, the sacrifice and its turning futile is what gains his attention the most. But from the point of view of the characters in the story, namely James and Della, their love for each other gains their importance the most. The sacrifice doesn’t hold any importance except conveying happiness to the person they love, and thus they don't hesitate much in doing it. Della just “faltered for a minute… tear or two splashed”. But she had “Eyes shining brilliantly”“… with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes she fluttered” to sell her hair. Also, at the time of the sacrifice, she did not think of herself, but only of James and...