In the first Harry Potter book, why didn't Harry get Ron a Christmas present? Although I don't have the exact quotes right now, Hagrid says that the money Harry takes out of his Gringotts vault was enough for "a couple of terms". If it was enough for more than one term, surely Harry had enough for a present for Ron?

After all, Hermione got Harry and Ron presents, and at that point, she'd been friends with Harry and Ron for two months — less than how long Harry and Ron have been friends.

I completely understand why Ron wasn't able to get Harry a present — his family was poor, and as an eleven-year-old, I can see why he doesn't have any money/his parents didn't give him any money.

But why doesn't Harry buy Ron a Christmas present? Surely they were close enough friends at that point to buy each other presents, especially after the troll incident, which they went through together?

  • 15
    Maybe, after living in an abusive household, he didn't realise you should. The other boy his age that he had lived with (Dudley) hardly set a precedent. Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 5:35
  • 1
    I don't see how this can be anything other than opinion based. Unless someone's been asking JK about this specifically, it's not going to be directly addressed.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 8:48
  • 5
    Do we know he definitely doesn't or is it simply not mentionedt? According to the books Harry only takes one bath in 7 (8?) years...
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 14:04
  • 1
    I wondered; the scene does read as though it accounts for every parcel that Harry opens. Bit more open on Ron's gifts.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 14:17
  • There is certainly material in the books that can be used to address this question. I have voted to reopen.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 18:07

4 Answers 4


I always assumed that it was because it never occurred to him - the Dursleys never really give him presents (I think an old coat hanger and 50p is mentioned). He has also likely never bought one for anyone before - it says that Dudley chased away any friends he ever made, and he never had any money before either, so couldn't have bought anything if he had wanted to.

He is very surprised at receiving any presents - which also points to the same idea. So it's hardly surprising that he doesn't think of buying any.

  • 9
    This is a nice answer. If you edited in a quote about him being surprised at receiving presents himself it would make it even better just to support your point!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 14:09
  • Not to mention is that they would be 11 years old in the first book. Most 11 year old dont exactly buy presents for other 11 year olds.
    – GamerGypps
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 9:29

Not a proof but a reasonable hypothesis: Harry is not able to buy Ron a Christmas present.

Fact: He could not go to Hogsmeade because he was too​ young and no adult had signed his permission document either.

Assumption: He did not gift anyone a present before because there was no one worthy of it.

Speculation: He is a little more than two months in the wizarding world and has no knowledge about other ways to buy things.

Notice: There is a preconception that girls/women care more about other people than boys/men, which could result in "Hermione thought about presents, Ron and Harry did not".

Whether Harry does not like to handcraft something is not known, and is not the question either.

Conclusion: for me it is part of the picture, that Harry missed the occasion to give Ron a present.


Harry wasn’t expecting to get any presents, so the idea of giving presents might not have occurred to him.

On his first Christmas at Hogwarts, Harry didn’t think he was going to get presents, he was just looking forward to the food and the festivities. Because of his low expectations of his own presents, he may have just dismissed the typical association of Christmas with presents, without ever thinking of the idea that he can give presents to others.

“On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bed looking forward to the next day for the food and the fun, but not expecting any presents at all. When he woke early next morning, however, the first thing he saw was a small pile of packages at the foot of his bed.

‘Happy Christmas,’ said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out of bed and pulled on his dressing-gown.

‘You too,’ said Harry. ‘Will you look at this? I’ve got some presents!’

‘What did you expect, turnips?’ said Ron, turning to his own pile, which was a lot bigger than Harry’s.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)

It seems likely that Harry simply overlooked the idea of giving others presents, rather than making a conscious decision not to. He is close enough to Ron that he would likely want to give him something if he’d thought of it. He does give Ron the fifty-pence piece he gets from his aunt and uncle, because Ron was fascinated with it since Muggle money is rare and unusual to Ron.

We received your message and enclose your Christmas present. From Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Sellotaped to the note was a fifty-pence piece.

‘That’s friendly,’ said Harry.

Ron was fascinated by the fifty pence.

‘Weird!’ he said. ‘What a shape! This is money?’

‘You can keep it,’ said Harry, laughing at how pleased Ron was.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)

He was friends with Ron and wanted to be nice to him, he just probably hadn’t thought of actually buying anyone Christmas presents.

  • Not only did Harry not expect presents, Ron knew that Harry did not expect presents as he says that that’s why Mrs. Weasley sent Harry a sweater. That means that Ron knew that Harry wasn’t even expecting a present from him, and presumably vice versa.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 22:10

If Harry knows Ron is not able to get him a present because of a lack of means, would it be nice to rub it in by creating a debt that would be hard to repay?

Now in order for pretend thoughtlessness to be believable, it has to be indistinguishable from actual thoughtlessness. If Ron is not supposed to figure out the difference, how can we hope to manage?

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