The Tree That Saved Christmas
Release Date: November 30, 2014
Director: David Winning
Our Unofficial Summary of The Tree That Saved Christmas
If we're honest, I've already forgotten how The Tree That Saved Christmas began. But, Lacey Chabert plays Molly, who grew up on a Christmas tree farm and now lives in New York City with a boss who treats her like some kind of assistant/nanny hybrid. She finds out her family's house is being foreclosed on and goes back to the farm to help.
In the beginning, we saw a flashback situation in which her favorite Christmas tree was literally being sawed down, and they saved it with magic, I assume. And the tree somehow ended up in her boss' house 20 years later, so she stole it before she went back to Vermont.
There are several men who look the same, but we somehow figured out that they are probably three people: Chabert's boss, brother, and high school boyfriend, Lucas.
They get to the house, and her parents have already started packing the house, except not really. Chabert's brother, who we later realize is channeling David Tennant as the Doctor, comes up with a plan to have the house declared a historic site. But, gasp, the high school boyfriend works for the bank that's doing the foreclosure--inf act, his dad is the boss!
While she's at her family's cabin, her boss and his kids show up without any warning. The kids are in charge, so after their 10-hour flight to the Azores and then another 10 hours back because the kids whined about being on the beach, they just BOOM, are there. And they told dad it had to be a surprise, so he didn't even text her with a warning. But maybe he also was afraid she'd say no.
The kids end up steading one of Molly's journals and show it to their dad, who works in publishing of some kind, and he decides to promote her from assistant to writer. I'm not clear on what kind of publishing company this is.
Meanwhile, the banker dad is conspiring with the city council because he knows he'll lose the historic site thing and not get to build his resort on the family's lot. So, they agree to declare the house historic, but also to move the house somewhere else, so the family still has to leave. There is nearly a brawl at the city council meeting, which would have been awesome.
Then back at the bank, Lucas tells his dad off in an epic fashion and quits.
They all end up back at the house, and the girls convinced their dad to take care of the mortgage on the house, so they get to keep it. It seems like a conflict of interest, but okay.
Lucas and Molly get back together, and he says he's going to pursue his dream of being a photographer, but we saw one of his pictures, and it's not going to work out. We don't know what happens after that.
The moral of the story? Money fixes everything. And you know what? I'm glad they're finally honest about that.
Mattie's Three Sentence Review
It was a bit more scandalous than Hallmark movies with clear references to making out and other premarital activities. The story was cute, though I feel like they had too many storylines happening at once, and any one of them alone could have been interesting enough. But, I LOVED that the parents were 100% on board with their kids living their own lives, and that gives it an extra star for me.
Mattie's Rating: 4/5 Dangerous Limo Rides
Austin's Three Sentence Review
Or should I say Tree sentence review? Probably not, but this was a cute but forgettable movie, and the only reprehensible characters were the bad guys. Overall this was a cute but kind of fractured movie that didn't have any big problems other than the strange emotional attachment to a tree.
Austin's Rating: 3/5 Bottles of Magic Tree Glue
Our Real-Time Reactions to The Tree That Saved Christmas
Mattie: So, we were going to watch Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas, but it didn't DVR for some godawful reason, so we're watching a Chabertmas movie that isn't actually a Hallmark movie. It's UP. As in Uplifting TV. It started as a gospel channel and is now basically a competitor with Hallmark and similar. I'm actually going to go check who brought Christian Mingle into this world.
Austin: So this is how Chabertmas ends. With what could be the only movie worse than The Christmas Card.
Mattie: Christian Mingle was NOT an UP show. It looks like almost no one wants to claim it. But, I did find out what the tagline was for it.
Austin: Should I be afraid? I want to guess. Swipe Right on Salvation?
Mattie: I doubt there's swiping on the Christian Mingle app. It's probably too dirty.
Austin: Using your fingers for anything other than prayer is a sin.
Mattie: Well, palm to palm IS holy palmers' kiss.
Austin: Don't bring Shakespeare into this mess
Mattie: Shakespeare is part of every mess. I feel like we can blame him for the entire concept of the rom-com. Anyway, the tagline for Christian Mingle: She went looking for Mr. Right...and found Him.
Austin: That is worse. That is very worse.
Mattie: Let's try to catch the movie with the world's longest title tomorrow if we can, just in case it doesn't DVR. Maybe a bonus Chabertmas 11 if we can pull it off. Also, based on the description, it sounds like a horror movie.
Austin: A Chabertmas miracle, an extra night of us doing this to ourselves.
Mattie: Maybe. No promises. We also still need to watch The Christmas House, so this isn't over until it's over. But legit, this has been super fun.
Austin: I think that this tree saves Christmas by falling on Scrooge.
Mattie: We have hippies running through a Christmas tree farm. I assume they're hippies. One has a guitar. Only hippies have guitars outside.
Austin: The other has a film camera. They are hipsters. They got lost looking for a speakeasy coffee shop.
Mattie: It's funny because the kid doesn't know how to use it. He kind of held it to the side and moved around a lot while snapping it at a sign saying it was 500 Feet to the North Pole. What I assume is child Chabert is now playing her guitar to get the tree to grow. In fairness, some studies have been done on stuff like that.
Austin: She is a girl tree. Such massive cones.
Mattie: This has the same director as Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas. Also, this woman is VERY proud of the fact that she plans to pay off a loan she's taking out. I'd say like 90% of people plan to do that. If you have to say it, I don't trust your plan to pay it off.
Austin: This is a Christian Movie, they might just assume Trump is a role model, and their viewers think you can just not pay back loans, and it is fine.
Austin: Won't somebody think of the trees!
Mattie: This guy has a fake mustache. Also, this is his destiny. Once in every generation, a tree farmer is born. He alone will stand against the weevils and deforestation and the forces of darkness. He is the farmer.
Austin: So many of these trees could become wooden stakes to fight vampires.
Mattie: That's the only reason I haven't insisted you cut down our front tree yet. You never know when you need a stake.
Austin: Eerie music and chainsaws. Horror movie incoming.
Mattie: She also woke up from a dream in a panic needing to know where her dad is and stop him from doing whatever he's doing. It's a horror movie, for sure. And she ran up on someone with a RUNNING CHAINSAW and started hitting him in the back. How is she not dead?! How does he still have all his limbs?!
Austin: The entire concept of this movie is beyond stupid.
Mattie: Isn't there some way you can save this tree you already sawed down? I know! Let's glue it back together and use some cellophane! Austin, you know trees. Can you save sawn trees?
Austin: Maybe? I mean, you can graft trees, but I don't know specifics.
Mattie: She just got shit on by a bird and then spilled her coffee. I understand this day.
Austin: Look at the fast-paced city life and mean boss.
Mattie: Her boss just basically told her to go buy herself something pretty. They're pronouncing Rowling wrong.
Austin: That is one ugly living room. It has like three competing styles.
Mattie: That's a living room where they discourage their own children from entering. His kids just insulted a woman for wearing men's shoes. We're off to a good start.
Austin: I know I always clap for bad writing.
Mattie: You asked for 20 Chuck Tingle books for Christmas.
Austin: and? Chuck Tingle is the voice of a generation.
Mattie: Is this guy her boss? I can't tell if it's the same guy without the glasses. Wait, no. There's glasses guy. So who was the other guy who was ordering her around? Wait...no, this is her brother. All these men look the same.
Austin: I also thought it was the same guy. These are extra generic white guys.
Mattie: I like his vest and tie situation, though. Men should wear vests and ties more often. Everyone should. Karen in Mean Girls knew that.
Austin: Did their parents not tell them that they were losing their childhood home?
Mattie: I feel like this is the ego-driven "if we don't tell them, we can fix it, and they never have to know" thing.
Austin: I prefer the Eggo- driven "we should just give them waffles" approach.
Mattie: They hire people to decorate their house for Christmas. What's even the point?
Austin: IT WAS HER TREE at the Shitty boss's house? And also, it is a shitty tree. It is already falling apart.
Mattie: No, she's right, Generic Brother. This IS super odd. Uh...she's stealing the tree.
Austin: Grand theft arbor is no joking matter.
Mattie: She's trying to get a taxi to take her and her tree. She is also planning on somehow getting to VT from NY with said tree. Oh...she has a car. Weird.
Austin: That is just her brother without glasses, right?
Mattie: Generic Brother looks like a different person without glasses again. Or the same person. Are all the men in this movie other than her dad played by the same person?
Mattie: This has been going on for TWENTY YEARS, and they never told their kids.
Austin: That tree should be bigger than the house by now.
Mattie: Well, it was sawed in half when it was small, so it probably has some issues. Her childhood bed is bigger than our living room.
Austin: I know how much the farm means to you." Not enough to tell you or pack your shit for you.
Mattie: "Everything's packed, Molly." Except for...you know...everything on the walls, in our curio cabinets, and everywhere else. What IS in those boxes?!
Austin: The props people worked very hard assembling and stacking those empty boxes.
Mattie: I wonder what they have planned for their animals. Because they have at least one horse. All of these movies have someone in Seattle as part of them, don't they?
Austin: Serial killer in the house music!
Austin: I think she repressed the memory of a chainsaw murder, and she will realize the tree was where they buried the body of that drifter her dad killed.
Mattie: Foreclosure proceedings in Vermont take six to seven months. So if they were JUST foreclosed on, they have six to seven months before they have to leave. But it looks more like this happened months ago, and they didn't give their wealthy kids a heads up.
Austin: She lives in NYC and has a car. She has untold wealth.
Mattie: It's weird because she's like, "we can help pay this off!" but she also is paying for an Ivy League education and is working as an assistant. There's no shame in that, but you definitely can't save a place from foreclosure like that. It'll most likely be Architect Generic Brother and her for moral support.
Austin: Lacey Chabert always looks so damn cute in these movies
Mattie: I was just thinking that.
Austin: Draco is sleeping on my lap, and typing is hard.
Mattie: This place serves food in baskets and has wine glasses. I don't like this. If I'm eating food out of a basket, I want my wine in a plastic cup.
Austin: They are in Vermont; did they ask Bernie for help? He would absolutely come in like a socialist Santa and save the day. Like not even with money, he would just cut down and sell all the trees like a superhero then fly off to save the day elsewhere.
Mattie: They're talking about her old boyfriend Lucas and how this was their make-out spot. Scandalous! And now she's...under the table. Because Lucas showed up. And I'm pretty sure Lucas is also Generic Brother, Boss With Glasses, and Boss Without Glasses.
Mattie: Fake IDs? Isn't this a small town? Like small enough that the fake IDs would be useless?
Mattie: They said it's been a long time. And the old lady at the restaurant implied she shouldn't have left him. That's probably true. I bet she didn't even leave him with a dope beat to step to.
Mattie: Is this the bank? The place that says "bank?" No. Definitely not. Obligatory Chabert snowball fight, but with her brother this time. And with a bank. They set off the alarms. I was SUPER hoping they were going to rob the bank, though.
Austin: That would be one hell of a twist. The tree starts robbing banks to save the farm.
Mattie: He's tired because he's still on west coast time? Shouldn't he be more awake? Like, if it's 9:00 there, it should feel like, what, 5:00 to him?
Austin: That was the fakest fake yearbook I have ever seen. It looks like they made it with a photocopier.
Mattie: I just realized how heavy her bed is going to be to move. They're going to have to tip the hell out of those movers.
Austin: Legally, I think they can shoot them as trespassers.
Mattie: Does the family know they're showing the house to the investors? Or did these guys just show up? Also, I think the realtor guy is Lucas?
Austin: 800 acres for a Christmas tree farm? No wonder they lost the farm.
Mattie: This has definitely been going on for months. They have plans to turn this into a ski lodge and a business plan for all the jobs that it's going to bring in.
Austin: Not a ski lodge, a golf resort.
Mattie: But there were also ski lifts? This place is going to go south REAL fast. Lucas is saying her family is going to start a new life somewhere else. That's how 99% of horror movies begin—starting fresh.
Austin: Log cabins are super ugly. I did not have this opinion before I watched all these movies.
Mattie: I think this interior is the same cabin-like building we saw in the commercial just a second ago and perhaps the same one from The Christmas Card where the house was also the VFW.
Austin: 200 years old? How?
Mattie: I think he said his dog house was 200 years old. The brother is DEFINITELY throwing off some David Tennant Doctor vibes. Time Lord. I think this is even what Tennant was wearing in his first episode.
Austin: That is our exact reaction to carolers.
Mattie: Grumpy old man just closed the blinds on some carolers, and now he's yelling at Lucas about someone totally unrelated to Lucas trying to get the house declared a historic site. I think there needs to be more than a year attached for something to be considered a historic site...even if the mayor lived there...
Austin: Well, he designed a modern house 200 years ago. With Picture windows and HVAC. It is very historic.
Mattie: The brother is not a strong public speaker.
Austin: This is exactly how city council meetings go.
Mattie: They were way less insulting to the constituents than the ones here are.
Austin: And nobody was waving an American flag around, wearing a mascot head and screaming about how the constitution says I can shoot viruses out of the air.
Mattie: This is 2014. Things were slightly saner then.
Austin: This guy looks like the drummer in that Eve6 music video we just watched.
Mattie: I'll say this UP TV puts a reasonable amount of makeup on their actors. His blush to foundation ratio is within the normal limits.
Austin: Two dogs? Gross.
Mattie: She hasn't been home in so long that she didn't even know that this guy was still living in the town, despite him eating in the one restaurant four times a week. Lucas' mom left his dad, and he says it was "hard on his dad," implying it wasn't hard on him, making me think that his dad sucks even worse at home than he did when we saw him a few scenes ago. He was probably like, "run, mom!"
Austin: The beer keeps getting emptier and fuller.
Mattie: He got a scholarship to Pratt and didn't go?
Austin: He probably had a free ride to Kansas that he just had to take instead.
Mattie: He's being all judgey because she doesn't have the exact life she wanted. Who does?? At least she went for it, bro!
Austin: I am not a crime-fighting astronaut married to Cindy Crawford. My 10-year-old self had such realistic dreams.
Mattie: A lot of these Christmas trees leave a lot to be desired. Lots of Charlie Browns.
Austin: The one behind them is just a stick with a tuft on the top. It is a Q-tip.
Austin: Small towns are known for their powerful and far-reaching journalism.
Mattie: "I didn't know there were reporters there last night!" It's a city council meeting. There are always reporters. Uh...her boss and his kids just showed up at her family's house unannounced. And they didn't even bring the obligatory tree to the door. "We don't mean to intrude." What.
Austin: No, it isn't a horse. That bird is really sick.
Mattie: The kid was complaining about having to spend Christmas on the beach. She got sand in her bathing suit.
Austin: they were in the Azores.
Mattie: I don't know what that is. I just know she said sand and bathing suit, so I assumed she was somewhere I would rather be.
Austin: It is a chain of islands near Portugal. They spent 24 of the last 48 hours on a plane.
Mattie: These kids can't understand why they don't have ornaments on the tree even though she just explained it to them. Also, they have a horse and sheep?? What's going to happen to all the animals?!
Austin: They are just going to let them free, where they will terrorize golfers and skiers for generations.
Mattie: The boss is clearly not married. Do we have two contenders for Molly's heart?
Austin: Obviously, this will be UP's first thruple.
Mattie: "Yeah, it was weird having my boss here." Well, he DID just show up without notice. So yeah, weird. Also, mom is on #TeamBoss. Also, now it sounds like they only had the farm foreclosed on and not the house? I miss his dad's fake mustache. It was so sinister.
Austin: The tree is coming for you. It died once already. The tree fears no man.
Mattie: His dad would rather pay someone to take the photos than use his son's skills for free because of those stupid, selfish dreams his kid had. This guy sucks. Good for mom for running away.
Austin: Why are they helping with this? Charge their greedy asses!
Mattie: It's not their property yet. You don't have to let them take photos. I'd be like, "off my goddamn property until you take ownership of it."
Austin: 800 acres is a lot of space to hide a body.
Austin: He looks like somebody. And I can't figure out who.
Mattie: Young Molly was in an episode of Supernatural, so that explains why she looks vaguely familiar. That also tells me this was shot in Canada.
Austin: He would be a great senior picture photographer.
Mattie: They always have people lying on their stomachs on the floor to write things in movies. Have you ever actually tried to do that? SO uncomfortable. Unrealistic.
Austin: Especially if you own cats. They just pin you to the floor, and you are stuck.
Mattie: They keep alluding to some "big mistake" they made as teens. And his dad keeps saying she was a troublemaker.
Austin: They stole one of his kidneys.
Mattie: I don't believe he was an Eagle Scout and his kids don't know. Eagle Scouts introduce themselves as such, no matter how old they are. I had a professor for a hot second whose entire office door was I AM AN EAGLE SCOUT.
Austin: I bet he has at least one sailboat, and I'm pretty sure half of sailing is knowing about knots.
Mattie: His dad is doing something sketchy in a closed office.
Austin: Chabert brings a guitar to a sleepover? Laaaaame. "Anyway, here's Wonderwall."
Mattie: She told this teenage girl that that book is her journal, and the kid immediately flipped it open. Teenage girls know better. They wait until you're out of the room to do that. (And now they're reading her whole journal while she sleeps. But aloud. That's not a good idea.)
Austin: You are 12. You should already know what terminal means. And it's a tree. Nobody cries over a tree.
Mattie: I was putting her more at 14 and the other at 15. Why is he bringing a stretch limo in and out of the mountains? That's unwise. Mom is definitely on #TeamBoss.
Austin: And didn't they fly there?
Mattie: Ugh, this poor dad.
Austin: This took one dark fucking turn.
Mattie: Okay, I know you technically don't get forced to wear seatbelts in a limo, but they're driving through mountains, and it's kind of snowy. THEY STOLE HER JOURNAL.
Austin: So, he knows where her parents live, but not that she is a writer?
Austin: Commercial break revelation: they were all extras on Supernatural.
Mattie: Not even extras in some cases. Young Molly was the Leviathan who complained about being inside a kid, and the younger daughter was tween Amara. The older daughter was on the fairies episode. Brother was in two episodes. Boss was in an episode. Young Lucas was in an episode. I could keep going, but long story short, this movie was shot in Canada.
Austin: Why are you here? Well, the kids stole your journal, and I am making them give it back.
Mattie: Okay, the house has been protected from demolition, but that means nothing for the farm, as far as I can tell. OH DIP. The banker is brilliant. Evil, but brilliant. Dad's about to have a stroke.
Austin: That motherfucker.
Austin: And now it is the war on Christmas. So incredibly on-brand for Christian TV bullshit.
Mattie: Punch your dad! You know you want to! But...did they think they'd absolutely get to keep living in the house after it was declared a landmark? People DO live in landmark houses, but there's a lot of costs involved and requirements regarding the kind of upgrades and renovations you can do.
Austin: Listen to those Coyotes! There are going to be some shitty yelp reviews at this resort based on them.
Mattie: David Tennant is having an existential crisis. It's really nice to see these parents being really happy about their kids not staying in the small town. And I love that the dad is saying he didn't really want this life to begin with, and he wanted more for them.
Austin: Farming sucks and is hard. Yes, please go do something else.
Mattie: I figured it out! Dad is what would happen if John Goodman and John C. Reilly got merged in a science experiment. You lived on a farm for a while, right?
Austin: In the country, and I've been exposed to enough of it that there is no way I would ever want to do that shit as a job or live out there.
Mattie: I'm really enjoying that the daughters genuinely like Molly and want her in their lives, but they don't seem to be trying to parent trap her with their dad. Which is good because he just said he'd be happy to have her as a daughter. How old is he supposed to be??
Mattie: He was 49 when they made this. Chabert's character is 29. It tracks.
Austin: The acting! Such emotion!
Mattie: This movie does have some realistic tension between adult kids and their parents, though. I still want Lucas to punch his dad. He just told him off really well.
Austin: Prediction: Banker dad is going to have something comical drop on his head before the movie is over.
Mattie: Lucas has murder in his eyes. While looking at Chabert.
Austin: Are we thinking Ed Gein style body parts as Christmas ornaments serial killer?
Mattie: Chabert's fake eyelashes seem to get bigger in every scene. Oh dear...these teenage girls are excited for Santa.
Mattie: Robitussin needs to read the room. "Don't worry, Molly. Coughing Isn't new. Everyone coughs. You'll be fine as long as you take Robitussin."
Austin: That was one hell of a transition to commercial. Very jarring.
Mattie: Some scientific articles advise against taking any cough syrups until you have a COVID diagnosis if you have a cough. Your doctor can tell you if you can take it after you've been diagnosed, but apparently, you shouldn't take it if you're not sure. At least as of May.
Austin: Are they about to burn it all down for the insurance money?
Mattie: Molly is reading in her head! I don't know how I'm supposed to react emotionally!
Austin: Don't leave us hanging, bro!
Mattie: Holy shit. Her boss just basically paid off their mortgage. But I'm curious to know how that would work in the real world if they've already gone through the foreclosure process to this extent.
Austin: The moral of the story is that money solves all problems. So stop being poor and shit.
Mattie: I mean...it's not wrong. Honestly, it's a pretty factual moral. Those are things we're not supposed to say, but we all know.
Austin: Seriously. Log cabins look like if your house was made out of shiny poop. So gross.
Mattie: He's hiring her as a writer? What kind of company is this? Also, isn't that journal from when she was a kid because it has the tree story in it?
Austin: Nobody buys anthologies. This is just a stupid vanity project.
Mattie: Hallmark buys anthologies. They turn them into movies and TV series. Oh pleeeease, move back to NYC. There's no reason for you to stay on the tree farm. Everything is fine now. I would LOVE to see someone return to their normal life on a show like this, except a better one. And Lucas quit his job and needs to do something. He could do something in New York.
Austin: Like taking senior photos. That seems like about his ability level.
Mattie: They just showed one of his photos. The lighting was really bright, and everyone was washed out. The centering was odd. And her anthology book is covered with construction paper.
Austin: The props people in this movie tried their best.
Mattie: The whole budget was spent on Chabert's eyelashes. Did you forget about the tree like ¼ of the way through the movie?
Austin: I did. It seems like it didn't really save Christmas after all. It just saved a tree farm in Vermont.
Mattie: I get that it's what got her there in the first place, except I also feel like she would have gone either way when she heard her family's house was getting foreclosed on. This is more "the financial planning that saved Christmas." I'd love to see how they handle it when they have to ultimately toss the tree because it's dead, though.
Austin: They can just glue it back onto the stump again, right? Right? Did they kill off the star of this movie?
What is This?
On episode 60 of Will This Be on the Test?, we talked about Hallmark Christmas movies. This inspired us to watch every Lacey Chabert Christmas movie we could find. Sadly, there aren't 12, but we hope you enjoy the 10 Days of Chabertmas anyway! (And who knows? Maybe we'll throw in a few of her other ones as well.)