During the Christmas holiday season, Greenwich Village witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak), a free spirit with a penchant for going barefoot, is bored, a little depressed and restless in life. She admires her new neighbor, publisher Shep Henderson (James Stewart), who lives above her rare African art store and ground floor apartment. When Shep arrives upstairs and unlocks his own front door he discovers Gillian's aunt Queenie (Elsa Lanchester) rummaging around in his living room. She also lives in the building and has her own curiosity, because he's recently moved in and she seems to want to know more about him by studying his belongings. Her excuse is that she came in to shut his window as it was snowing outside. Annoyed and perplexed as to how she somehow managed to get through his locked door, he is terse with her and says he needs to use the telephone, ushering her out. She puts a hex on the telephone and so when he lifts the handset to use it, garbled voices can be heard on the other end. It's implied clearly that Queenie possesses magical powers. Shep subsequently meets Gillian downstairs after asking to use her phone.