Welcome to the Ending Explained for “My Christmas Family Tree,” A Hallmark Christmas movie that checks all the boxes when it comes to delivering that Christmas movie atmosphere that, at this point, feels like an unshakable formula. This formula has the benefit of creating a sense of familiarity and coziness around these films. However, it can also make things a bit too predictable. My Christmas Family certainly falls into the predictable kind of territory, even when it tries to pull off a twist to make things more interesting.
The quality of the production is very much the standard for Hallmark films. It feels a bit too much like something trying to inhabit a sense of hyper-Christmas. Every corner of the film screams Christmas, which is quite overwhelming. Thankfully, all the actors are likable—especially our two main characters. Aimee Teegarden feels like the perfect protagonist for this kind of film. Her presence is gentle and kind, which is exactly what you want in this type of movie. The same goes for James Tupper, who plays a nice man trying to do the right thing—the perfect theme for a Christmas movie.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for My Christmas Family Tree. Read at your own risk.
Why Is Vanessa Alone On Christmas?
The film starts by introducing us to Vanessa, our main character. Vanessa works as a social worker and is very good at her job. She is good with kids, and she expels a sense of kindness. People love her, and they enjoy being with her. We see a family thanking her for helping them, and they invite her to spend Christmas with them. However, Vanessa rejects the invitation in the most polite way possible. Vanessa seems charming and happy from the outside, but she is sad. Once she goes back home, we see she lives alone.
Not really alone, though. Her only companion is her dog, and that is it. It seems weird that such a beautiful and charming young woman is all alone for Christmas. Her best friend, Shelby, visits her, and there Shelby mentions that their ancestry DNA test’s result just arrived in her email.
Shelby pushes Vanessa to check her results as both took the test. Vanessa checks it out, and there she discovers a huge revelation. She has a parental match in the DNA system. This means that this person is her father.
She gets the information from the DNA test site and calls her father. She fears he might not want anything to do with her, but she does it anyway. Here, we meet Richard, a family man, father of four, and husband to his wife.
Vanessa and Richard have a phone call, but through the awkward silence, they decide to meet each other in person. The meeting goes quite well. There, Richard learns that Vanessa’s mother died when she was nine and that she was raised by her grandmother, who also died soon after, which means Vanessa has been alone most of her life.
Richard, of course, feels like he missed some vital years and explains that things would have been very different if he had known about her. There are some weird details, though.
Vanessa doesn’t remember ever going to or hearing a mention of the place Richard says he met her mother. He also knows her by a different name, while Vanessa knows her as Patty. Richard dismisses these details. He feels a connection to Vanessa. And so he invites her to spend Christmas with him and his family. Vanessa accepts.
Is Vanessa Richard’s Real Daughter?
Richard sends a friend of his, a young man named Kris, to pick up Vanessa and bring her home. Kris learns that Vanessa is Richard’s daughter, and he is quite surprised. Kris knows Richard from a very early age, his father and Richard were in the war at the same time, and Richard came back and cared for Kris until he grew old.
Kris says he feels like another member of Richard’s family. At this point, it is also clear that these two like each other. They make eyes at each other and look like a nice couple.
When they arrive at Richard’s home, Vanessa meets the rest of the family. All four kids and Richard’s wife, Pauline. They all receive her with open arms, but the kids are skeptical about the whole deal. Aiden, the only boy, asks his father why they don’t know about Vanessa.
While Emilia, the youngest one, doesn’t seem to like Vanessa. Initially, it is a bit awkward, but Vanessa gradually wins her siblings’ hearts. By Christmas, they already felt like Vanessa was the oldest sister they needed.
Richard even says so when giving his Christmas speech to the rest of the family. Kris also thinks about asking Richard’s permission to court Vanessa. Richard couldn’t think of anyone better than Kris for one of his daughters.
However, when Vanessa receives a call from the DNA test company, everything comes crashing down. They informed her that there was a mix-up and that she was sent the results of another person with the same name. Which means she is not Richard’s real daughter. She reveals this to the entire family and leaves crying.
Vanessa returns with her dog to spend the holidays alone, but she is surprised by Richard and his family returning for her.
Richard discovered a picture of Vanessa’s mother hidden in the attic, and from there, there was no doubt that this was the woman he fell in love with when he was young, and this was the woman who gave birth to Vanessa. Vanessa is welcomed again by the family, and she and Kris are ready to start a relationship.