[[quoteright:349:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/b9151098bf68369fe924fb602bb21d68.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:300: The slightly odd-looking kids are ''far'' from the only problem in this special.]]

''The Christmas Tree'' is a 1991 animated {{Christmas special}} that takes place in an orphanage run by the evil Mrs. Mavilda. She steals the orphanage's funds and tricks the mayor into thinking she's a good manager. The kids are so miserable they latch onto a pine tree as a mother figure. Things begin to change when a new family moves to town, and the mayor assigns the mother, Judy, to a position as Mrs. Mavilda's assistant. She and her two children live at the orphanage while their husband/father must live elsewhere for his new job. Judy takes the orphans under her wing and tries to make life better for them. When Mrs. Mavilda decides to frame Judy for a crime in order to have her removed, the children make a desperate bid to appeal to {{Santa Claus}} for help.
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!!This animated special provides examples of:

* AdultsAreUseless: Played straight and averted. Judy's a decent person, if a bit dim, and genuinely cares for the children. The mayor, however, doesn't seem to have the slightest inkling that anything is amiss, and is perfectly willing to fork over large sums of cash (measured in number of bags, no less) to Mrs. Mavilda without much question.
* AnachronismStew: The time period is quite vague. They seem to be aiming for about the 1920s, but blatant anachronisms keep turning up, such as Mrs. Mavilda's henchman Mel watching a television set. Perhaps they were trying for a RetroUniverse, but that's probably giving the creators too much credit.
* BearsAreBadNews: One that looks like Baloo from ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' chases after the kids at one point.
* BabyTalk: Lily's dialog. In fact, almost all of the children's lines fit this trope, to the point that WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic made a joke about it in his review:
-->"I just learned how to speak three days ago and according to the Craigslist posting, that's all you need to be in this movie."
* {{Beat}}: The Mayor has an awkward one mid-sentence when saying, "I've got enough money here to get the children new clothes. ''[beat]'' And still some left for their Christmas presents."
* BigBad: Mrs. Mavilda.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: "You always win when you are good."
* BoltOfDivineRetribution: One apparently delivered upon Ms. Mavilda by Santa Claus. Which she miraculously survives.
* CardCarryingVillain: Mrs. Mavilda has no motivation except to ruin the children's happiness. She gambles away all of their money ForTheEvulz -- not for fun or profit or because of a gambling addiction.
* ChewingTheScenery: When Mrs. Mavilda is firing Judy, she chews it so hard that the voice actress's mic almost blows out.
* ChildhoodMemoryDemolitionTeam: Mrs. Mavilda wants to destroy the tree just to show the kids who's boss.
* CoversAlwaysLie: On the DVD cover, Mrs. Hopewell is indoors.
** More in the art style, but the VHS Cover has the children looking pretty cute with soft facial features, unlike the Elmer Fudd-like faces the kids have in the film proper
* CreepyChild: The orphans have shades of this and also of being some kind of hive mind, as they all develop the same bizarre, almost diabolical expression when meeting Judy's kids for the first time.
* DeusExMachina: Santa striking Mavilda down with lightning and somehow having rescued Judy's daughter offscreen is about [[AssPull as blatant as you can get]].
* DisappearedDad: Mr. Kindle has a job that requires him to spend months away from his family. He doesn't come back until Christmas Eve.
* DullSurprise: Barring the above [[ChewingTheScenery scenery-chewing]], the voice acting is... understated at best. Also near the end when Pappy tells his parents that Lily is probably dead, and their only reaction is their eyes going wide for a second.
* EasilyForgiven: Not only is Mrs. Mavilda not sentenced for child abuse and embezzlement at the end, she retains a job at the orphanage (albeit as Judy's assistant)! All because of her lightning-induced HeelFaceTurn.
* EvilIsHammy: Mrs. Mavilda.
* EvilIsPetty: Mrs. Mavilda apparently considers torturing the children and ruining their happiness favorable to keeping the money given to her by the Mayor.
* EvilOrphanageLady: Ms. Mavilda is a corrupt orphanage owner who wastes all her income gambling rather than help the orphans.
* {{Expy}}: Mrs. Mavilda is this for Miss Hannigan, the antagonist of ''Theatre/{{Annie}}''.
* ForTheEvulz: Mrs. Mavilda is downright gleeful about losing the children's money gambling.
* GainaxEnding: See DeusExMachina above.
* TheGamblingAddict: Mrs. Mavilda again.
* TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin: The [[AnAesop ending moral of the story]] outright states this.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Averted. Near the end, Judy says "Oh God, what do you mean?" right before Ray reappears.
* HappilyAdopted: All of the orphans, at the end. When the mayor tries to make Judy the new director of the orphanage, her husband interjects that they will adopt all of the children instead.
* HarmlessElectrocution: Mrs. Mavilda somehow survives the BoltOfDivineRetribution that strikes her before she can cut down Mrs. Hopewell.
* HeelFaceTurn: Mrs. Mavilda, after being struck down by the BoltOfDivineRetribution, which is Santa's way of saying, "Don't fuck with Mrs. Hopewell!"
* HeroesLoveDogs: The children at the orphanage collectively take care of a black dog named Licorice.
* InfantImmortality: Lily ''falls off a cliff'' into a snowdrift. But she survives, thanks to Santa conveniently being in the area. In a slightly less blatant example, the children never seem to get sick or injured despite wearing threadbare clothing to play in the snow.
* KarmaHoudini: Mrs. Mavilda's weekly gambling partners -- the ones who knowingly benefited from her habit of throwing away all the money donated to the orphanage -- get off scot-free. Whenever or not the lighting made her instantly changed her ways benefited this or not is unknown.
* LargeHam: [[EvilIsHammy Mrs. Mavilda]] is an especially noticeable one, given that she's also pretty much the only person in the world she inhabits that shows any emotion whatsoever.
* LimitedAnimation: So much so that you'll be startled whenever there's movement.
* NonHumanSidekick: Licorice the dog.
* NoodleIncident: Mrs. Mavilda apparently falsely accused a female orphanage worker of theft and got her thrown out, but we never learn more about it beyond a single line of dialogue.
* NotAllowedToGrowUp: Mrs. Mavilda seems to trot out the same kids and outfits every year.
* OnlySixFaces: The only distinguishing marks for the orphans are their hair and clothes. All of them have the exact same face.
* OffModel: The kids on the vhs cover above. However, ironically look ''cuter'' than in the actual special.
* OrphanageOfFear: It's clearly some kind of con setup, with money only being spent on food and electricity while Mavilda pockets the difference.
* OrphanageOfLove: Once Judy gets promoted.
* PatchworkMap: According to the book that one of the girls is constantly carrying, the world in which this special takes place has one of these. It looks like a beheaded gingerbread man composed of weird chunks of different climates, and apparently indicates that the orphanage is not too far from the North Pole.
* SantaClaus: Shows up at the very end, having saved the kids who went to search for him and apparently strikes down Mrs. Mavilda with a BoltOfDivineRetribution as well. Of course, as noted by WebVideo/{{Phelous}}, the movie seems to confuse Santa with Jesus, including having the kids follow the '''Star of Bethlehem''' to find him.
* SensoryAbuse: The scene in which Mrs. Mavilda fires Judy. The former's screaming is so loud she breaks the volume levels of her microphone.
* ShockAndAwe: Weirdly, Santa. He decorates the tree and gives the children new clothes with a noticeable electrical crackle. In a more traditionally elemental and slightly more sinister vein, Mrs. Mavilda is conveniently struck by lightning just before he makes his appearance. You really don't want to get on this guy's naughty list. Making him a sort of BadassGrandpa.
* SkewedPriorities: When the mayor finds out what Mrs. Mavilda has really been doing with the kids, he's more concerned that the inspector might see it and call him out on it.
* SpaceWhaleAesop: The ending promptly shoehorns in "You always win when you are good" as the moral of the tale Mrs. Mavilda learns. Putting aside the idea that you will eventually get what you want if you're a good person, in the story's context it makes no sense because the story was resolved by a DeusExMachina courtesy of Santa striking Mrs. Mavilda with lightning. Can she truly have been said to have learned anything when her reformation is probably due to brain damage from being electrocuted?
* StorybookOpening: A textbook (storybook?) example. The storybook doesn't have words or even word-shaped scribbles, just the kind of colored VideoGame/{{Tetris}} blocks that frequently showed up in low-budget animation before the AllCGICartoon became common.
* StupidEvil: Mavilda repeatedly wasting all of her embezzled donation money on poker? Bad enough. Her enjoying screwing the kids over, way too much to care? Downright priceless.
* ThiefBag: The mayor pays Mrs. Mavilda in unmarked bags of money.
* ThinkingOutLoud: Mrs. Mavilda provides a lot of exposition this way, as we see her lying in bed talking to herself about how to deal with Judy and other issues.
* ThousandYardStare: Ray, Judy's rarely-seen husband, almost never blinks.
* ATwinkleInTheSky: This was an inverse when Santa Claus shows up.
* UndisclosedFunds: The orphanage is paid in bags of money. Apparently, direct deposits, checks, bank accounts, and statements that have an actual amount listed do not exist in this universe.
* VocalEvolution: The Mayor starts out with a very similar voice to Ray and the narrator, but then suddenly changes to having a much higher-pitched and more Adam Sandler-type nasal voice for the film's climax.
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