The Christmas Tree is a 1991 animated Christmas special.


In a small town in the far north, an orphanage is run by a cruel and corrupt woman named Mrs. Mavilda. She subjects the orphans to strict rules and prevents them from having toys or new clothes. Mavilda squanders the orphanage's donated funds while gambling with her friends and tricks the mayor into thinking she is a good manager. The children cope with this situation by bonding with a pine tree they have named "Mrs. Hopewell", which they believe to be their magical friend.

The situation improves when a new family moves to town, and the mayor assigns the mother, Judy Kindle, to a position as Mavilda's assistant. She, along with her daughter Lily and son Pappy, live at the orphanage while her husband Ray temporarily lives elsewhere for his new job at a lumber mill. Judy does chores while her children are treated the same as the orphans. Lily and Pappy befriend the orphans while Judy cares for the orphans in her spare time. Judy helps the children take care of a stray dog named Licorice that the orphans had previously taken in and have been hiding from Mavilda. Judy and the children also decorate Mrs. Hopewell with a slide and swing.

When Christmas-time arrives, the mayor visits the orphanage and gives a large amount of donated funds to Mavilda so the orphans can receive new clothes and toys for Christmas. The mayor asks Judy to help Mavilda shop for clothes. That night, Judy and her children explain to the orphans what Christmas is about, while Mavilda gambles away the donated money. The next morning, Mavilda tells Judy that they are not going to go shopping and that the children will no longer be allowed to play outside (since Mavilda does not want the mayor to see them without new clothes). Mavilda worries that Judy knows too much about what is going on in the orphanage. She decides to frame Judy for stealing something from Mavilda's friend Mel while visiting his house on an errand so that the mayor will force Judy out of the orphanage. Mavilda also decides to have Mrs. Hopewell chopped down so the children will not want to play outside anymore. One of the orphans overhears Mavilda talking about her plans and goes to warn the other children. Desperate, the children decide that Pappy should go to the North Pole in a sled pulled by Licorice in order to ask Santa Claus to save Mrs. Hopewell.

Due to traffic, Judy cannot reach Mel's house, so she drives back to the orphanage. Meanwhile, Pappy discovers that Lily hid in the sled so that she could come along to help. When a bear attacks them, Lily falls down a slope and is separated from Pappy and Licorice. After Judy returns to the orphanage, Mavilda uses Lily and Pappy's disappearance as justification to fire her. When Mavilda and her friend Frank are about to cut Mrs. Hopewell down, Judy gathers the children to form a human chain to protect the tree. When the mayor arrives, Mavilda goes out of sight. Pappy and Licorice return and Pappy informs Judy and Ray (who returned from his lumber job) about what happened to Lily. Judy and the children tell the mayor that Mavilda was going to cut down Mrs. Hopewell. The mayor sees the orphans' poor-quality clothing and wonders what happened to the money he has been giving to Mavilda. Mavilda appears and grabs the chainsaw from Frank in order to cut Mrs. Hopewell down. Before she can do it, however, a bolt of lightning comes from the tree and strikes her, sending her flying off to the side. Santa Claus flies into the scene in his sleigh, and Lily is with him. The mayor declares Mrs. Hopewell to be protected city property, and offers Judy the job of managing the orphanage. However, Ray suggests that he and Judy adopt the orphans. Mavilda appears and looks forlorn. Judy approaches her and welcomes her to join in the Christmas festivities.

The narrator reveals that Mavilda now works as Judy's assistant in the orphanage. He also says that Mavilda is good now, and that "you always win when you are good".


Voice actor Character
Helen Quirk Mrs. Mavilda
Karen Drygas Judy Kindle
Elly Drygas Lily Kindle
Ayal Kleinman Pappy Kindle
Paul Whyte Ray Kindle and the Mayor
William Griffin the Narrator, Santa Claus, and Buzz (one of the orphans)
Maki Becker Sarah (one of the orphans) and Helen (one of Mrs. Mavilda's gambling friends)
Maya Melczer Louie (one of the orphans)
Michele Becker Maria (one of the orphans)
Leana Kleinman Bob (one of the orphans)

Home media releases

The Christmas Tree was released on VHS tape in 1991,[1] and on DVD in 2003.[2]


  1. The Christmas Tree – – Your Analog Videotape Archive
  2. The Christmas Tree: Movies & TV

External links

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