The House Without a Christmas Tree (1972)

house without a christmas tree dvd 1972
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 6/10

Strong story and cast

Low production value

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The House Without a Christmas Tree

Studio:  CBS

Genre(s):  Drama/Seasonal/Family

Release Date(s):  December 3, 1972

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


A Christmas tree…it had to be a Christmas tree!!!!

All Addie Mills (Lisa Lucas) wants for Christmas is a Christmas tree.  Unfortunately, her father James (Jason Robards) refuses to allow her to have one.  Christmas reminds James of Addie’s deceased mother and Addie also reminds him of her.  Feeling separated from her father, Addie’s only relief in her home is her grandmother (Mildred Natwick) who tries to keep the peace between Addie and James as the holiday approaches.

Directed by Paul Bogart, The House Without a Christmas Tree was a Made-for-TV movie that first aired on CBS on December 3, 1973 during the holiday season.  The movie was shot on video and rebroadcast over the years.  The film was well received by critics and is available on DVD.  The movie won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama—Adaptation.

The House Without a Christmas Tree was one of those decent, but cheesy movies that seemed to air on the weekends around the holidays.  The story is based on a book by Gail Rock and benefits from a strong cast.


What have I said about bringing a Christmas tree in a house!

Despite the title, The House Without a Christmas Tree is a rather edgy story.  It presents a father who cannot connect with his daughter and in fact resents her for the death of his wife who died just after her birth.  The movie does a good job showing Christmas through a child’s eyes, but also presents realistic adults with real problems.  The movie’s presentation of single parenting was praised at the time for showing the challenges.

The movie is mostly helped by the strong cast.  The three primary actors Jason Robards, Lisa Lucas, and Mildred Natwick do a great job with a script which feels a lot like a play.  Robards plays a great dad in the film and it reminds me a lot of his performance in the Ray Bradbury film Something Wicked This Way Comes which has him as a single father again.  Addie Mills is young and does have faults, but her nature works with the film because she does feel like a kid.  Mildred Natwick plays the perfect grandmother who actually feels more like a maid than family member…can’t anyone else in the family do some housework?


Didn’t see this coming!

The movie unfortunately looks cheap.  The movie is on video and at this point video is even worse than it appeared later.  All the movie’s faults are visible in video and the sets aren’t the strongest.  It is a shame that the movie isn’t done a bit better because the movie deserves better.

A House Without a Christmas Tree is a nice little holiday film.  It is often available online and can be bought on DVD.  The movie spawned three sequels where the entire cast reprised their roles:  The Thanksgiving Treasure (1973), The Easter Promise (1975), and Addie and the King of Hearts (1976).

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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