Each of these nineteen stories takes place at Christmastime, the first in 1808 and the last in 1996, and features a main character whose first name is a variant of Mary. Several are children, including an Irish orphan, a girl who camps out in the family’s fallout shelter, a girl who denies she needs glasses, and a seven-year old facing a traumatic tonsillectomy. Among the adults are a slave owner, an abused wife, a Sioux maiden, a Russian mail-order bride, a "slob who was robbed", and a mother whose grown son no longer needs her.
Some stories will evoke laughter, others tears. All will show the resilience of the human spirit.