The song is told from the perspective of a busy single woman adamant not to participate in the exhausting Christmas period. She has "turned down all her invites" and resolves to "miss this one this year". Earlier in the year, she saw a man in a ski shop and got his telephone number, but had no time to ask him out. Despite the pair's attempts to meet in the following months, a succession of mishaps keeps them apart. Finally, on Christmas Eve, as she is roasting the "world's smallest turkey" (courtesy of A&P) for her dinner alone, she realizes she has forgotten to buy cranberries. She runs to a convenience store and, by coincidence, runs into the man (who has also forgotten cranberries), bringing her Christmas "to a very happy ending." In the final chorus, she admits that she "couldn't miss this one this year."