‘A Christmas Mystery’ Ending, Explained: How Does Violet Find The Thief? 

Christmas is just a month away, and the merriment is about to begin everywhere with Christmas-themed films on television, OTTs, and in theaters. It will be the season to be jolly indeed. The point of releasing holiday movies is to bring a sense of happiness and joy, and being around family, and enjoy the festivities, colors, and lights that come with the year-end season. “A Christmas Mystery” is one such tale of a quiet town that is known for its sense of community and festivities and is looking forward to Christmas cheer when it is wrecked by the town’s favorite object getting stolen. Directed by Alex Ranarivelo, the film is about a bunch of kids who decide to look for a stolen object. 


Spoilers Ahead

Story Of The Santa Golden Sleigh Bells

The town of Pleasant Bay is in turmoil, as half the population of the town was employees of the mill that got shut down. The people lost their jobs because the river near the mill dried up, which led to the closing of the establishment in the year 1922. The entire town was in no mood to celebrate Christmas that year when Jimmy Stubbins, the son of the mill employee, heard the sound of someone walking on his roof. On looking outside, he sees a silhouette of Santa and his reindeer flying away, accidentally leaving behind a part of the sleigh bells on the tree in Jimmy’s yard. Considering it a lucky charm, Jimmy holds the golden bells close to his heart and prays for the mill to open and help his townsmen. The next morning, he wakes up to see the golden bells next to him and a small gift under the Christmas tree. A colleague of Jimmy’s father comes by on Christmas to inform him about the river flowing, and the mill is now ready to reopen in a few days. Jimmy credits this miracle to the golden sleigh bells that made his wish come true. Since then, this object has become an item that brings luck to people. People from around the country came by to touch it and offer wishes that they wanted to be fulfilled. The town of Pleasant Bay was looking for a reason to rejoice, and it came in the form of Santa’s golden sleigh bells that would change luck or fulfill the wishes of anyone. Because of its popularity over the years, Santa’s Golden Sleigh bells found their way to the Pleasant Bay Museum and soon became an artifact of historical significance. 


The year is 2022, and the kids of the local school are visiting the Pleasant Bay Museum just days before their winter break is about to begin. Violet Pierce, the younger daughter of the local sheriff, is a smart girl who also believes in the history attached to the sleigh balls. Her best friend, Kenny Bottoms, makes sure he is always by her side no matter what. Violet is visibly carried away by the story of the Golden Sleigh bells and asks questions about it from the museum director. She asks pertinent questions just like her father and has the knack for seeing things that others usually won’t. Her best friend Kenny’s father works with the security team of the museum, and he is a great father to Kenny and his elder brother Harrison. Harrison is a typical teenage kid who is embarrassed by the smallest things around him, chooses to stay away from his family, and spends time with his friends. Violet’s elder sister, Maddie, has a crush on Harrison and finds it hard not to blush in front of him. A few days before Christmas, the museum director sees that the golden sleigh bells are stolen, and the glass cabinet in which they were kept is broken. It is understood that someone who had access to the museum committed the crime. Violet’s father is in charge of the investigation. The town is in shock because this year, they are going to celebrate 100 years of Santa’s Golden Sleigh Bells in town. The town’s businessmen and women are expecting a lot of crowds coming from around the country. If the bells are not found, they will lose business. The town mayor, Donovan, is livid about the town elections that are coming up, and his son, Terry Donovan, who is a deputy to the sheriff, is feeling the heat to solve this case as soon as possible. 

‘A Christmas Mystery’ Ending Explained – How Does Violet Find The Thief? 

Initial investigations into the robbery point towards the fact that Kenny’s father, George Bottoms, is the only other person who had access to the museum after hours. Since George Bottoms is an ex-felon as well, proof in the form of CCTV footage and the presence of a suitcase where the sleigh bells were kept was found by the cops in George’s garage. George is arrested for the crime because of the evidence against him. Kenny and Harrison are sad to see the turn of events. Violet is upset to see her best friend lose his parents as he possibly won’t be able to spend Christmas with the family. Violet, being a sheriff’s daughter, uses her father’s detective skills to conclude that George Bottoms should not be the only suspect in this case. Her father is making the mistake of concentrating only on the evidence against Kenny’s father. Violet uses the skills her father uses at the station to deduce that there must be more than one suspect in this case. 


Her first suspect is the museum director. Violet and Kenny head to the museum, and she questions the director in his office about the museum donations that he is gathering. She also asks if George Bottoms stole the bells, why did he not steal the donation money? The kids follow the museum director and see him handing over the museum donation money to a woman. Violet notes down her car’s number and decides to check the number plate on her father’s computer at the station. Violet is interrupted by Terry Donovan, who helps her look up the car number. Turns out it belonged to a children’s home to which the museum donated money during Christmas every year. Violet is sure at this point she has nailed the culprit but falls ten steps behind when she is made aware of the actuality. Violet is heartbroken to know her father caught her conducting a parallel investigation. All she wanted to do was help Kenny get his father out of jail before Christmas. 

Violet notices a white and red sneaker in Terry Donovan’s bag. She asks George Bottoms if he has any white sneakers, to which he says no, and this is confirmed by Kenny and Harrison Bottoms. The CCTV footage which Violet gathers from her father’s office system leads to Terry Donovan is the third suspect who has means, motive, and objective. Harrison, Maddie, Violet, and Kenny start looking for evidence inside Terry’s car, where they find a map of the underground pump system. This map connects the museum to the school via an underground route. They find ways to connect this conclusion with finding actual evidence of the crime. The kids realize the sleigh bells are kept in the school; they just need to find out where. They finally find the sleigh bells inside the trophy kept in the trophy cupboard. However, they hear Terry making claims about finding out where the bells are before even reaching the spot where the object is kept. The kids take a video of him speaking these words and present it as evidence against him. Terry Donovan stole the sleigh bells, took advantage of him being a cop, and blamed George Bottoms because of an old rivalry. Violet, Maddie, Harrison, and Kenny make sure to find out who the culprit is, for Kenny is sure his father is innocent. Harrison, though he had a difficult relationship with his father, finally believes that it might be someone else who did the crime and framed his father. Violet and Maddie use their investigation skills to make sure they reach the endpoint of the case and gather evidence systematically, just like any other police officer would do, to make sure Terry Donovan is arrested. Terry Donovan was always under pressure from his father to perform better as a professional. His father had set some expectations for him, which Terry wanted to achieve, and, in that desperation, he stole the sleigh bells with the hope that he would get them back and save the day just before Christmas. In the end, they commemorate 100 years of Santa’s Golden Sleigh Bells, and the town requests Violet to ring the bells as she makes sure the thief is caught and arrested. Just like that, the Christmas mystery is solved by a young girl from Pleasant Bay Town.



This one-hour, 36-minute film is a typical Christmas watch that would cheer anyone up as the festive season is gathering momentum. There is no complexity or layering attached to it, and the screenplay is simple, with no extended character graph to stretch upon. The writers and director made sure it catered to the audience they wanted to target, and they did a good job of putting across a cheerful Christmas film. The only actor that stood out in this film is Violet McGraw, here playing Violet Pierce, of “The Haunting of Hill House” fame. The kid has a bright future as an emotive actor. “A Christmas Mystery” is the right film to watch if you are looking forward to cozying up on your couch with a cup of hot cocoa in your hand as you imbibe the spirit of Christmas. 

“A Christmas Mystery” is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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