Without question, Maureen O'Hara can light up a frame of film like no one else, and "The Christmas Box" is no exception. Not even the darling little Kelsey Mulrooney could distract from the regal Ms. O'Hara as she assumed the role of a wealthy, rather gloomy widow, Mary Parkin. On the advice of her lawyer, who is worried about her being alone in her huge mansion, Mary advertises for a "live in" family as caretakers. Keri, the young wife of Richard Evans, feels this is a golden opportunity for them to have a better life
outside of the crowded city and a better environment for their little girl, Jenna. They are chosen by Ms. Parkin on a "trial " basis and provided very comfortable living quarters in her elegant home. Richard Evans is very dubious about the arrangement, feeling Mrs. Parkin is a very unpleasant old lady. However, as manager of a ski-shop his business takes him away from his family much of the time and as the Holiday season approaches, he is seldom home. Things are further complicated by his wife's unhappiness over his absence and a strange recurring dream that disturbs Richard's sleep. He dreams of an angel beckoning to him and soon the intensity of this experience becomes very disturbing.
Everyone in this unlikely family does a complete turn-about from the beginning to the end of this tear-jerker. The staid and solemn widow Parkin becomes loving and friendly with the young family in her presence. Richard, through some mysterious angelic force, discovers a box of love letters in the attic written by Mrs. Parkin. It is then that he begins to realize the importance of the love of his family, and the true meaning of Christmas.
A particularly beautiful scene in this film finds Mary Parkin watching the young family decorate the Christmas tree. Her eyes fairly glow as she takes in the love and happiness before her. There is a particularly intense nostalgia here for Maureen O'Hara fans. That face, that wonderful face! The wistful expression and tentative smile could well be that of Kathleen Kirby in "Rio Grande" or perhaps even Mary Kate Danaher in "The Quiet Man." There are many gifts that bring us the spirit of Christmas, but Maureen O'Hara's
presence in this film is a very special gift to her audience and her fans enduring fans.