On the First Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

One of those waxy, chocolate-crunch foil-wrapped Santas. We were seven. He liked to read as much as I did – we even co-won a reading contest. I knew right then that we should get married, because that’s what love was: reading together and eating candy.


On the Second Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

A kind word. I was in fifth grade and had to wear this awful orthodontic headgear that looked like the inside of a football helmet, and his first worry was that I had been in a terrible accident and was I going to be okay? And then he defended me when all the other kids pointed and called me ‘Jabberjaw.’


On the Third Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Nausea. We were playing Spin the Bottle at my eighth grade Christmas party. I was terrified that he didn’t like me, or wouldn’t like me, or thought I was fat, or stupid, or both. So rather than make-out with him behind the drawn curtain, panic-stricken, I told him that I was sick and quite possibly contagious. So we stood there like two idiots until it seemed plausible that we had been frenching.


On the Fourth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

The honor of being the first person he came out to.


On the Fifth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

A Godfather marathon. I was home from college and we started from separate ends of the sofa, but by the time Fredo was praying his last Hail Mary, the two of us were a tangled mess on the middle cushion and nothing but the deafening screech of the auto-rewind on my parents’ VCR could stop us. And then we went to the movie theatres to see Godfather III – our first “official” date – but all I remember about that film was that we played with each other’s fingers throughout. Well, that and Sofia’s nose.


On the Sixth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

An official NHL hockey jersey. No, seriously.


On the Seventh Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

One of those Verse-a-Day bibles. Same guy.


On the Eighth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

A complex. After years of friendship, peppered with on-again-off-again relationship attempts, rather than simply tell me that he had met someone else (with whom he would eventually fall in love and marry), he ended things by reporting that it was, in fact, me and not him.


On the Ninth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

A perfect first kiss. One of those idyllic kisses, where the guy walks you to your car and stops you just as you reach for the door handle. He spins you around and pushes you firmly, yet gently, against the car door as he drinks in your eyes with his. One of those kisses where he gently traces the line of your jaw with his fingertips and brushes your cheek, and right as he leans towards you and you think your heart is going to explode – at the precise moment your lips meet – tiny snowflakes begin to fall.


On the Tenth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

A vibrator. I was alone that year and my date was me.

Best. Christmas. Ever.


On the Eleventh Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Silence. Alone again. Batteries? Dead.

Worst. Christmas. Ever.


On the Twelfth Date of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Anticipation – for the date that’s yet to come.

There’ll be no bibles or hockey jerseys. No movie marathons, no kind words, no frenching. No batteries. But neither will there be rude awakenings or callous dismissals.

I’m not exactly sure when my next date will be, or where.

But I have hope that wherever, whenever, with whomever, there’ll be stacks of books and heaps of candy.

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KIMBERLY M. WETHERELL Kimberly's many and varied lives have included actor, stage manager, opera and film director, producer, writer, and restaurateur. She only has three lives left and she's not going to waste a single one of them. The first Arts & Culture Editor for TNB and creator of the TNB Literary Experience, Kimberly has been published by Rizzoli in the book Brooklyn Bar Bites, CRAFT Magazine, The Mighty, and SMITH Magazine, among others. She co-founded the food and drink reading and storytelling series DISH at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City and she's working on multiple projects including her debut novel, several screenplays, and a documentary about female film editors. She thanks you for stopping by and sitting a spell.

64 responses to “The 12 Dates of Christmas”

  1. I’m so with you on that last one Kimberly! Although, I have batteries, just in case. 😉

  2. Greg Olear says:

    Great post, K-Dub…I like the way you organized it. Wish I could have seen you read it. And I can’t wait to see the video.

    Sofia was memorable in that movie…all I remember is her and Pacino’s lousy makeup.

    Jabberjaw. Ha!

  3. Kimberly, I wish there was audio with this piece, because really, people everywhere need to hear you sing the lead-ins…. what a fabulous funny piece, a great night … so happy to put the body with head shot … can’t wait to do it again! You rock!

  4. Hysterical! Love this! Want to comment on each of the twelve days but will stop myself. Jabberjaw?! Was it something you had to wear all day, or just put on at night? And Sofia’s nose . . . what was it about that nose? I have picked her as one of my big nose role models. Paul B. in fifth grade said, “Jessica would be cute if she didn’t have such a big nose.” There were years fantasizing about nose jobs, and then I gave it up (too many strange nose-job-looking noses out there) and started searching for Big Nose Role Models, people to make feel okay about my schnoz.
    The list starts with Sarah Jessica Parker, then Sofia Coppola, then . . . well Jennifer Gray had rhinoplasty so she’s off . . . and even Jennifer Anniston had some r-plast . . . so who is left? Who, pray tell, are our big nose role models?!

    But back to you, toi, vous–so much more interesting than moi! Verse-A-Day and Hockey Jersey guy . . . sounds so, uh, white. I think you need to interview him for TNB–check back with him to see what he’s like now!

    • The ‘Jabberjaw’ was an all-day kind of thing – the only option to breaking my jaw to cure a severe underbite. It wasn’t one of those cool wire/neck thingies I so desperately wanted. It was called a “chin cup” and was seriously like the inside of a football helmet, but instead of a soft rubber chin strap, it was made of hard molded plastic and had these horrid steel hooks that were joined by tight, tiny rubber bands to force my jaw backwards into submission.

      Add a “lip trainer”, which was a steel bar attached to my furthest-most back molars and ran along the front of my teeth (also to create space and drive my lower teeth backwards towards my throat), which made my lower lip jut out like Mushmouth’s.

      Oh yes. 1984/5 were very. glamorous. years. for one Kimberly M. Wetherell.

  5. Jim Simpson says:

    Classic Wetherell. You deserve that twelfth and so much more — and yes, you totally rock.

  6. Zara Potts says:

    I love your twelve days of Christmas! But I would like to give a special kick in the arse to the guy who gave you number eight.
    So I would like to give you:
    12 keys-a-typing; 11 shots-of-Baileys; 10 vibrator-batteries; 9 cookies-baking; 8 Al Pacino’s; 7 pretty-hairclips; 6 little-kittens; 5 chocolate-Santa’s; 4 pairs-of-high-heels; 3 gorgeous-lipsticks; 2 Jermaine-Clementses and 1 Kiwi-hug.

  7. Gloria says:

    I kind of hope the eighth date guy got herpes from his one and only true love. Just saying…

    The ninth date guy, though – wow.

    I’ll be spending this christmas alone with all three Jason Bourne movies, a bottle of wine, and snacky foods at my fingertips. I’ll only dislodge myself from the couch long enough to use the restroom.

    • I do wish Ex-mas Guy #9 (Oh how I wish I had been clever enough to title this ‘The 12 Dates of Ex-mas’) had worked out, but the truth of the matter is…

      … he had just (and I do mean *just*) been involved with a menage a trois of his own – living with and loving one half of a lesbian partnership, prior to our own moment in time. I did reap some of the benefits of him having been schooled by women who love women, but at the end of the day, I wanted a Man (note the capital “M”) in my life. I’m girly enough – all by my lonesome.

      Regardless, until Date #12 makes an appearance, family and friends will suffice.

      And I *do* have the very best of both to tide me over till that magical, mystical day occurs. 😀

  8. Loved it, K-Dub. Apart from the parts about bad Christmases. So sad!

    Roll on, lucky number 12!

  9. Ben Loory says:

    i’m trying to make a joke that involves the line “i smell books and candy,” but this is as close as i’m coming.

    • BEN: Hey Aaron, have you read K-dub’s most recent post?

      AARON: Yeah. Boy, howdy did it reek!

      BEN: Whaddya think? Pungent? Like Frankincense? Or myrrh?

      AARON: Well… she was raised Catholic, but no. It was a little more sour than that… like that time when we went to The Strand…

      BEN: … but also kinda sweet, like when we went to Max Brenner’s after…

      AARON: Yes! That’s exactly it! When I read this, I smell…

      BEN: … books AND candy! I smell books and candy! Two great smells that smell great together!

        • Ben Loory says:

          wow, you took the long way around! all i had was “how’s that marcy playground song go?…” what’s max brenner’s, anyway?? it sounds like the kind of place i should check out.

          i will never call you k-dub, by the way. just ain’t gonna happen. you’ll always be kimberly wetherell to me.

          actually, you’ll always be kimberly wetherAll, for some reason. i guess because my brain’s faulty.

          or maybe that’s some kind of tire??? or fabric????? jesus, my brain is weird.

        • No weirder than kids from when I was little:

          THEM: Hey Weather-ALL! Do you know ALL the weather?
          ME: No.
          THEM: But it’s your name, Weather-ALL.
          ME: There’re no “A”s in my name. It’s all “E”s. w-E-t-h-E-r-E-l-l
          THEM: What’s the weather, Weather-ALL?
          ME: You’re a dummy.
          THEM: Weather-ALL! Weather-ALL!
          ME: Dummy.
          THEM: What’s the weather, Weather-ALL?
          ME: (burst into tears and run away)

          A cup of the Mexican spicy hot chocolate after an afternoon at The Strand is just about the most perfect thing, ever

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Yes, well. My last name was “Hiney.” Hee-lair-ee-us.

          #10 is scary by the way — an answer to the question beloved by latter-day columnists of the Dowd ilk: Are men necessary?

          Happy cookies to you. I seen your stuff on FB, I just ain’t said nothing.

        • Thanks, Duke! I didn’t mean #10 to be scary. I meant it to be funny.

          Truth be known, that Christmas wasn’t the best ever. Nope.

          I can’t actually remember a good, I mean really good Christmas since I was 8 or 9, when Santa was very real and magically turned my grandparents’ living room into a wonderland of ridiculous and decadent splendor.


          I may not believe in Santa Claus anymore, but I *do* believe in Date #12.


          Loads of cookies right back at’cha.

          (Oh, and for the record re: Dowd. The answer is an overwhelming “Yes” – but not for any *one* of the reasons she cites.)

        • Debbie says:

          Is it bad that I’ve stopped believing in date #12 and started believing in Santa again? I think its just easier that way….

          This was fantastic Kimberly! I was telling my girlfriends last night about this piece and we talked about #10 to great length…..wish you could have been there…you would have fit right in! I’ve never had a #9 though…..maybe thats what I’ll wish for for 2010…. *sigh*

          Oh, and can I just say how jealous I am of your cookies on FB? Seriously jealous!!!! Yours are all decorated and pretty…mine are nekkid and slightly crooked. JEALOUS!!


        • Even though #9 didn’t work out, I’m grateful I have a few fond memories to carry around and revisit from time to time.

          (and thanks for the cookie props! I don’t know if they stand up to your AMAZING pumpkin bread, though…)

  10. I love how the things we think when we’re seven–and then for years and years forget about and decide were immature or naive–usually turn out to be the true core of wisdom all along. If it gets better than someone to read and eat candy (or substitute “sushi” for “candy,” if you’re me), then I’m not sure what that would constitute (though it might look something like The Pillow Book, where reading was involved but people were also naked, and had hot accents.)
    Sending you a big Midwestern hug, which is not quite as great as a Kiwi hug, but maybe if you combine them both it would be something to behold!

  11. Erika Rae says:

    I totally used the “I think I’m sick” line to get out of a first kiss once. So bad.

    But your post made me laugh. ( :

    I’ve also got Business Time stuck in my head now. Also “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”.

    “And when you’re on the street
    Depending on the street
    I bet you are definitely in the top three
    Good looking girls on the street
    Depending on the street”

    • “… Definitely in the top three …”

      Believe it or not, those same words were said to me once, with the intent of making me feel better about not being someone’s first choice.

      Note to self: Start walking better streets.

      Wait. What?

  12. Marni Grossman says:

    Head gear! My sister had to wear head gear and it was a troubling time for all of us. I bet you were adorable, though. I MISS you.

  13. You know, Kimberly, you really have that pitch-perfect talent for perfectly hitting tone, versatilely switching between funny comic and the sort of sappy-sentimental that makes someone go “Awwww.” At least inside. The perfect kiss is described brilliantly, and it’s spot between Bible verses and a vibrator is just genius.

    Love this.

    Also, I would have sung along louder but wasn’t yet drunk enough!

  14. Matt says:

    Ugh, sorry I’m so late in getting to this, just been overwhelmed by holiday nuttiness.

    This was hysterical. Just the holiday chuckle I needed. Cannot wait for the audio/video.

    I’m right there with you on #12. My first solo Christmas in a while. Think I might just have to “give” myself a bottle of Gentleman Jack for the occasion.

    • SPLURGE! Do it! At least you know you’ll get at one gift that won’t get re-gifted!! 😀

      • Just watched the video footage. Great presentation! And you looked adorable.

        Also: I have lots of books, a pretty big DVD selection, an extra bed, zero plans for Christmas day, and the kind of candy stash that befits a lifelong chocoholic. Grab a cheap flight off of Priceline.com and come on over! No making out necessary!

  15. kristen says:

    Damn, I wanna hear this read aloud! Sorry to have missed.

    Glad to read it now, anyway. Funny and sweet and I love the bring-back-around of “books/candy.”

  16. Ducky says:

    How did I miss this?

    At any rate – loved it. So clever.

    “…because that’s what love was: reading together and eating candy.” Why can’t it be this simple?

    New York is usually my Christmas beau. My twinkling boyfriend. This is my first Christmas away in so long. Is it snowing there? Give a kiss for me, will ya?

  17. […] TV  TNB’s Arts & Culture Editor Kimberly M. Wetherell reads “The 12 Dates of Christmas” at Happy Ending Lounge in New York City on 11 December […]

  18. […] M. Wetherell / “The 12 Dates of Christmas” Read It. / Watch […]

  19. Autumn says:

    Was it a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey?

  20. Joe Daly says:

    So glad I found this piece. Hilarious. When people talk about life being “about the little things,” they rarely explain how that is not always a glorious thing.

    Oh, and I blame you for my uncomfortable walk down memory lane, wherein I re-examined all the gifts I’ve given my true loves for Christmas. I can’t say for sure, but I think the worst was probably a copy of “About Last Night” on VHS.

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