Back to: Punjab Board Class 10th English Guide and Notes
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‘A Gift For Christmas’ is a short, moving story. It traces the poverty filled life of young couple Della and Jim and their desire to gift each other a worthy gift for Christmas and share their love.
About the Author:
Information about the author is unknown.
The theme of this short story is love. The deep love displayed by the couple Della and Jim is starkly highlighted. The poverty they suffered from can be taken as another theme as well.
One Dollar and Eighty-Seven Cents:
The story begins with Della despairing on Christmas Eve over the meagre amount she had saved – one dollar and eighty-seven cents – would be insufficient to buy her beloved husband Jim the Christmas gift he deserved. A description of their house and the state it was in reveals the poor condition of living they were enduring, given the fact that Jim could only earn $20 per week. After much deliberation and shedding a few tears, Della decides to sell off her long, luxurious hair – one of the two prized possessions of Jim. She does sell it for twenty dollars and found a gift for him at last. It was a platinum watch chain for his other prized possession, his gold watch, an heirloom.
Even as Della is anxious over how Jim would react to her new look, he returns home promptly at 7 in time of poor, he too exhibiting signs of poverty. Upon chancing a glance of her, he shot her a strange look. An anguished Della rushed to tell him why she had to cut off her hair, assuring him that her hair would grow back just as fast. After a moment of disbelief, Jim kissed her, revealing why he had reacted so. He had bought the expensive combs she had desired as her gift! Overwhelmed with joy, Della assures his again that her hair would grow back, hurries and brings her own present out. Jim however, calmly states that he had sold his watch to buy her gift and states that they better have dinner.
This is a heart-warming story coloured with a tinge of sadness. Both Della and Jim display immeasurable love towards each other, willing to give up what they treasure most just for the sake of their partner’s happiness. Perhaps their gifts might have not been of use, at least for the time being, but their love for each other is, by no means, diminished.