- Alternative Character Interpretation: The movie presents the Mayor as a kind and generally competent individual who just had the wool pulled over his eyes by Ms. Mavilda. But some viewers see him in a considerably less positive light. They say that from what the movie shows, he only makes the barest effort to ensure the children's wellbeing (simply looking at two children in nice clothes and deciding they're being looked after), and could probably have found out about the embezzlement and child abuse if he'd done more than just take a look at two children wearing nice clothes. Furthermore, when he figures out the truth, his first question is "what if the inspector were to come?", which makes him seem very self-centered.
- Cliché Storm: Even at the time this was made, there are still too many to count.
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Ham and Cheese: Helen Quirk, who did the voice of Mrs. Mavilda, was clearly having fun with her role.
- Idiot Plot:
- The plot would have been over before it began if the mayor (who is not in any way supportive of Mavilda's abuse) took more than a passing glance at the children before handing his huge bags of money to Mavilda.
- Moral Event Horizon: The climax suggests that Mrs. Mavilda would not have hesitated to chainsaw through the wall of people (including children) trying to guard Mrs. Hopewell.
- The orphan explaining how he likes to pretend the tree in the backyard is hugging him when he's sad. Though unintentional, Judy's heavy-lidded oh-you've-got-to-be-kidding-me reaction is what really sells it.
- Judy apathetically exclaiming her husband's name: "....Raaaaaayyyy...."
- What little legitimate emotion shown by Judy after being reunited with her [thought then to be dead] daughter is ruined by (to quote The Nostalgia Critic) "The creepy Coke Santa ad" showing up for a couple of seconds right in the middle of the scene.
- The way Pappy calls for his supposedly dead sister. "Lily."
- A good 90% of Lily's lines are impossible to understand due to utterly baffling Baby Talk. You can tell that she's voiced by a little girl who only recently learned how to talk... and that's not a good thing.
- "Here goes the children's money again!"
- The fact that one of the kids is named Pappy, which doesn't call to mind a kid as much as an old man (e.g. Pappy from the Popeye cartoons).
- So Bad, It's Good: Some people have referred to this as The Room of Christmas specials, what with everything being so badly done that it's hilarious.
- Special Effects Failure: The movie was released in 1991, but considering how awful its production values are, it could easily pass as something from the 1960s.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Maybe not a particularly good character, but it's ironic that the premise of the film gives Mrs. Mavilda plenty of understandable reasons for being only passively neglectful towards the kids, such as a lack of substantial funding for the orphanage or a gambling addiction of some sort,, or just not being that great with kids, that could've allowed for a smoother redemption arc come the third act. Instead of her being an Obviously Evil crone who knowingly neglects the children by intentionally gambling their money away and then bragging about it, and by having her only "redemption" come via Bolt of Divine Retribution.
- Took the Bad Film Seriously: Helen Quirk as Mrs. Mavilda. Despite having no previous acting experience and being over-the-top in her performance, Quirk was the only one who didn't seem completely riddled with Dull Surprise and actually made Mavilda an enduring character (if for all the wrong reasons).
- Uncanny Valley: The movie spends its entire running time jumping into and out of the valley, especially with the blinking. Many of the movie's scenes show absolutely no movement when the characters are on screen, except for the rather unsettling blinking. On top of that are the eyes - they attempt to go for irises rather than just black dots, but they don't actually use any color for them. They're black corneas and gray irises, which are just unnerving.
YMMV / The Christmas Tree