Synopsis (with spoilers!)
THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS
By Ginna Hoben
Mary, an actor, is decorating a Christmas tree with ornaments representing the dates she’s had this past year. She recalls her fondness for holiday traditions until a year ago, when she and her fiancé broke up after she inadvertently caught him kissing his coworker at the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while she was away. To make matters worse, she discovered this right before news of her sister Sally's engagement.
Shortly after her split, Aunt Kathy, who has a penchant to marry off her nieces and nephews, introduces Mary to Edward, a family friend, during her annual Christmas Eggnog Party. The pair hit it off on a first date but on an invitation for another, Mary declines and returns to New York early.
Back in the city, Mary sorts through holiday invitations and accepts David's, an old friend who was also recently dumped. They commiserate over drinks, and before long, Mary realizes that David had treated their night as a date. They share an awkward kiss at midnight on New Year's Day, before she rushes off alone to the subway.
United by the randomness of a ringing pay phone at the subway station, Mary meets John, a pediatrician whom she connects with over a number of dates. Although increasingly drawn to him, when John doesn’t show up for a date, Mary discovers she had been abandoned and that he dates his coworkers. At the hospital, Dr. Hogan, someone John also dumped, befriends Mary.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Mary goes bar hopping with Dr. Hogan, where they meet Aidan, a talkative bartender. After his shift, Mary takes him home and they have a one-night stand. June comes around and she is the Maid of Honor at her sister’s wedding. Abstaining from alcohol, she becomes the party’s designated driver and ends up driving two bachelors home.
Connecting with both, Mary found one overzealous and the other nonchalant. Aunt Kathy writes to her about these ongoing romances against her wishes, and this creates a rift in their relationship—suddenly, it turns into a family feud. Labor Day passes and she goes on three more dates, none of them suitable leads.
Winter arrives and Mary is cast as the Spirit of Christmas Past in a production of A Christmas Carol. She befriends a child actor playing Tiny Tim. On her way home one evening, Mary bumps into her ex, who confesses his remorse for his behaviour over coffee. After blowing up and forgetting her wallet as she stormed out the cafe, she returns to the sympathy of Rob, a waiter who witnessed the outburst. He invites her out.
After some auspicious dates, Rob reveals he is moving to the Czech Republic with his band. On Christmas Eve, Mary waits with Tiny Tim until his dad arrives, who is late for pick-up. The next day, Mary wakes up early to have a buffet followed by an arthouse film, before running into Tiny Tim and his dad arriving at the theatre as she leaves. They convince her to stay and end up spending the day together. Tim’s dad invites Mary for dinner on New Year’s Day, which she considers. With the tree now fully decorated, Mary confides that her date with Tiny Tim on Christmas Day was her best all year.