Annabelle’s Wish is the Most Underrated Christmas Movie
Updated: May 21
One year ago, on an ordinary day, I was doing my usual thing—I don’t remember what exactly—when suddenly this image of a pink Christmas tree burst into my mind. I knew I had seen it somewhere. It was sparkly, kind of small, and definitely from some animated children’s movie that had talking animals.
My first guess was 101 Dalmatians. Cruella De Vil would totally have a gaudy pink Christmas tree if she celebrated Christmas (what am I talking about—her tree would be half white, half black, obviously.) As it turns out, the Christmas tree was not in 101 Dalmatians. My second thought was that it must be in The Aristocats! Adelaide would absolutely be the kind of lady to have a classy pink Christmas tree that she took pictures of while surrounded by her adventurous cats. Sadly, it was not in The Aristocats either.
For one whole year, the origins of this pink Christmas tree eluded me. Every once in a while, it would pop into my head, sparkling and covered in animated tinsel. I wanted my own pink Christmas tree, but more than that I wanted to know what it was from. It was an earworm, and it was driving me crazy. In the middle of the summer, I would think to myself, “Is that pink Christmas tree in The Aristocats? No, you already tried Googling it and nothing came up.” I have three brothers and honestly this was more irritating than anything they did to me all year.
And then one day, about two weeks ago, I was forcing my mom to watch YouTube videos she didn’t care about when it came to me. I said, “Mom, do you remember that one Christmas movie, Annabelle’s Wish?” And she was like, “Sure.” And I said, “I feel like that used to be one of my favorite Christmas movies.” And she was like, “I think it used to be your brother’s favorite Christmas movie, too.” And I was like, “Mom, this is about me, not him. Let’s watch the trailer right now.” We watched the trailer. Just as Celine Dion says in her best song, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” it all came back to me. I saw Aunt Agnes in her made-for-TV, Hallmark children’s movie villain glory and I knew I had found it. (Not lying: I was so excited I almost knocked my chair over.)
The pink Christmas tree was from Annabelle’s Wish. It was a Christmas miracle. I re-watched Annabelle’s Wish, and now I’m here to tell you that it does not get the appreciation that it deserves. I should have immediately known what movie that Christmas tree was from because everyone should know, and here are a few compelling reasons why.
Annabelle’s Wish is only 53 minutes long. That’s not even an hour of your time. So many Christmas movies just don’t know when to quit: A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Elf, the 1964 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The same cannot be said of Annabelle. She knows when she’s starting to lose your attention and she cuts to the chase. Now that I’ve done some research, I realize that many children’s Christmas movies are also that short. That means that it’s comparable to its contemporaries (even though they aren’t really contemporaries).
Most of the story in Annabelle’s Wish revolves around the fact that Santa gives animals the ability to speak on Christmas day. When listening to Annabelle speak, you might realize that she sounds familiar. That’s because Kath Soucie, who played Phil and Lil in Rugrats, provides Annabelle’s voice as well. Jerry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke’s brother, plays Grandpa Baker—arguably the best character based on his chuckle alone. If that cast isn’t star-studded enough for you already, the actress who plays Emily also provides the voice for Ducky in The Land Before Time, another childhood classic.
Not only is Annabelle’s Wish the perfect length of time and full of incredible talent, it also deals with many important issues, such as disability, bullying, and PTSD. Now let’s be realistic: there are only 53 minutes in the whole movie and it was made in the ‘90s, so there’s not enough time or enlightenment to dig deep. However, the main human character, Billy, was mute for a couple of years (I don’t remember how many) and experienced a lot of bullying from the neighbors’ kids. On top of that, he was afraid to go into the barn where he was trapped in a fire (incidentally what caused him to lose his voice). To balance these heavy topics out, it also has a great message of kindness, sacrifice, friendship, and following your dreams.
I can’t even tell you how badly I want to spoil the ending. As I’ve said before, I watched it so I would be able to make my argument (I was ready to argue before I watched it, but I’m more prepared now), and I cried. It’s so good. Annabelle is so cute with her stick antlers.
This brings us back to the most important part of the movie, and the real reason we’re here today: Aunt Agnes’s pink Christmas tree. Agnes might be the villain, but the impression of her Christmas decor on my baby mind was so strong that for an ENTIRE YEAR 20 YEARS AFTER I WATCHED THE MOVIE I could not stop thinking of that tree. I don’t know if I fully described how intensely annoying it was to not remember where I had seen that stupid tree, but it was torture. That’s the kind of thing that I would reveal government secrets for. And of course, the true test of a movie is if the people who watched it when they were kids will still remember it as adults, and Annabelle’s Wish passes with flying colors. Bonus: the whole thing is on YouTube, and you don’t even have to pay to watch it. (Don’t tell anyone I told you. If it gets taken down, I will be devastated.)
What is a Christmas movie you remember from your childhood? Does the idea of talking animals fill you with as much terror as it does me? Have you ever seen Snowball Express and could it be that this entire article is a lie and that is actually the most underrated Christmas movie? Tell us what you think in the comments!