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For Christmas, New York City based neuroscientist Sharon Harper is heading back to her small hometown of Pine Springs to spend it with her pregnant cousin Lucy and Lucy's husband Roland. This trip marks the first time Sharon will have returned since the passing and funeral of her Gramma Vera in January, Vera who raised her. Sharon learns from Vera's estate lawyer Sam Taylor, who also happens to be Vera's next door neighbor, that Vera will be leaving the house - where Sharon grew up - to her, but has written in a journal many of their family Christmas traditions, twelve of them which Vera wants Sharon to accomplish before she makes the decision on whether to move back into the house for good, which would be a departure from Sharon's life plan, or to dispose of it. Also factoring into what Sharon will do is the fact that she has been nominated for the prestigious MacAdam's Fellowship worth $500,000, the interview for which she will attend on December 31st back in New York. Sharon's plan is to incorporate her favorite of Vera's Christmas rituals with the twelve Christmas tasks, namely to hang each of the twelve days of Christmas ornaments on its display stand after the completion of each task. In that ritualized task, Sharon is dismayed to find that she can only find ten of the eleven ornaments, the partridge in a pear tree which never existed in this set, the missing ornament being the two turtle doves. In completing each task, Sharon gets help from Sam's ten year old daughter Mikayla and by association Sam himself. In return, Sharon ends up helping Mikayla cope with Christmas in the absence of her own mother Jenny who passed a few years earlier, Jenny, an artist, the reason she and Sam, originally from New York, moved to Pine Springs in the first place six years ago. In the process, Sharon can't picture a life without Sam and Mikayla but also doesn't know if she can put all that she's worked for behind her, while Sam knows he won't start something with Sharon that has no chance of even getting to the next step. Beyond whether or not she gets the fellowship, what happens between Sharon and Sam may symbolically be determined by whether or not the two turtle doves ornament is found, it which to Sharon signifies love.