Starting to read the story we meet the first character – Della. She is a housewife and she copes with it quite well. She is thrifty and realistic cause she sees the harsh reality, she saved one or two pennies by “bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied”. This is a case of metaphor. Della was not simply demanding or asking, she was “bulldozing” like a powerful tractor. But at the same time she is romantic. She is ready to give her greatest possession to buy a present for the most important person In her life – Jim. With the help of simile her hair is “like a cascade of brown waters”, it was so wavy and smooth. Despite her “old brown jacket, old brown hat” she still had a “brilliant sparkle in her eyes”. Her exploit is described as “generosity added to love – “a mammoth task” – a case of hyperbole, which is used to show her love to Jim and her ability to pass serious decisions. She is really proud of herself. She always wanted to look nice for Jim. She is rather pious: “she had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things”.
Another person we meet in the story is Madame Sofronie. O. Henry provides a rich characterization with only one sentence: "Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the 'Sofronie. She is blunt: when Della asks whether she would buy her hair, she says, "I buy hair" and brusquely tells Della to take her hat off so she can see it. She offers Della twenty dollars for her hair.
Mr. James Dillingham, at home called Jim is the only breadwinner for the family. But Della didn’t view him like that, she saw him as a person: “he needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves” but she gave him a platinum fob chain to show that she was cognizant of things that were valuable for him. Jim was always punctual – he was never late. He was rather serious. It is described with the help of simile: “as immovable as a setter” He was proud of his watch but at the end of the story we see that Della and her beauty are much more precious for him. He was so shocked to see Della with a short haircut that he even didn’t notice his present.
They are the real Magi, though living in the real world, they are higher of reality, there is something divine in them.