The house itself is a symbol of the paucity and depicts the meager income that Jim earns in order to make both ends meet. Della is shown to be a typical and loving home-maker, who tries to save money even from Jim's meager income. In spite of the poor earnings of the couple, the two love each other dearly.
Della is keen and eager to buy Jim a present but does not have enough savings to do so. She has only been able to save "one dollar and eighty-seven cents" which she knows will not be enough to buy Jim a decent Christmas present. In order to get money for Jim's Christmas gift she sells off her most valuable asset, her hair, and with the money she acquires, buys Jim a platinum Chain for his watch.
Ironically, Jim sells off his precious watch, that "had been his father's and his grandfather's", to buy Della a present for Christmas.