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December 19, 2019

It’s in the Cards

Appearing in a Hallmark Christmas movie is a happy holiday tradition.

Paula Hendrickson
  • Candace Cameron Bure

    Jeremy Lee/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Lacey Chabert

    Jeremy Lee/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Cameron Mathison

    Eike Schroter/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Jill Wagner

    Alexx Henry/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Alicia Witt

    Kailey Schwerman/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Holly Robinson Peete

    Jeremy Lee/Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Danica McKellar

    Crown Media United States, LLC
  • Andrew Walker

    Steven Ackerman/Crown Media United States, LLC

Hallmark Channel made its first original holiday movie in 2000, but it wasn't until 2009 that the network unveiled the Countdown to Christmas.

Now a tradition in millions of households, the event is supported by an app (Hallmark Channel Everywhere) and the Hallmark Movies Now streaming service. This year's Countdown, which began October 24 and runs till the end of the year, will offer 40 new movies on both Hallmark and its sister channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Here are some of the stars who will light up the holidays:

Candace Cameron Bure

Bure isn't just the star of Fuller House and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries; she embodies Christmas cheer so well that it wouldn't be surprising if she left a trail of tinsel in her wake.

Her first holiday movie for the network, Moonlight & Mistletoe, predates Countdown to Christmas, and she's wrapped a new Christmas movie every year since 2013. Last year Bure starred in A Shoe Addict's Christmas alongside Luke Macfarlane (Brothers & Sisters) and Jean Smart (Designing Women). This year she's headlining Christmas Town with Tim Rozon (Wynonna Earp).

Lacey Chabert

Chabert is one of Hallmark's favorite leading ladies, and not just when the yule logs are burning. Along with headlining the Crossword Mysteries series, she's already made eight Hallmark Christmas movies in seven years, appearing with Jane Seymour in 2014's A Royal Christmas and Mariah Carey in 2015's A Christmas Melody.

This season Chabert and Sam Page (The Bold Type) snagged sugarplum roles as costars of Christmas in Rome, which was shot on location. Sweet.

Cameron Mathison

Though this former soap star has cohosted Hallmark's Home & Family daytime talk show since 2013 and been a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight since 2007, he hasn't given up acting.

In 2013 Mathison gifted fans with two Christmas movies for Hallmark — The Christmas Ornament with Kellie Martin, and Window Wonderland with Chyler Leigh and singer Naomi Judd. This year's The Christmas Club, costarring Elizabeth Mitchell, marks the fifth time he's spread holiday joy for the network.

Jill Wagner

Best known for darker dramas like Blade: The Series and Teen Wolf, Wagner sparkles more than a snowy skating rink in family-friendly holiday fare.

Her first Hallmark Christmas movie was 2016's tasty Christmas Cookies with Wes Brown, and this year she's doing double duty, decking Hallmark's halls in two new movies, Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses (with Matthew Davis) and Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy (with Ashley Williams and Holly Robinson Peete).

Alicia Witt

With another Christmas movie premiering this season, Witt — fresh off the final season of Orange Is the New Black — may have rivals for the unofficial title of Hallmark Christmas Queen, but she's definitely the channel's top Christmas caroler.

An accomplished singer, musician and composer, she wrote and performed the title song for her 2015 movie, I'm Not Ready for Christmas, and this year she performs her original music in Our Christmas Love Song.

Holly Robinson Peete

Call it a three-Peete: this star of 21 Jump Street (the series and the 2012 movie) has appeared in all three Christmas in Evergreen movies, including the forthcoming Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy.

She also headlines Hallmark Movies & Mystery's Morning Show Mysteries movies. This year, she stars in Hallmark's A Family Christmas Gift alongside legendary singer Patti LaBelle and Dion Johnstone, making for a Holly, jolly Christmas, indeed.

Danica McKellar

Though she's a published mathematician and bestselling author, some will always see McKellar as the iconic girl next door from The Wonder Years. Y

et she's also one of Hallmark's brightest Christmas stars. Her whip-smart persona and comedic timing complement Christmas movies like a dash of nutmeg on eggnog. McKellar already has five holiday movies to her credit, including 2018's Christmas at Grand Valley with former Wonder Years costar Dan Lauria, and this year's Christmas at Dollywood, costarring Niall Matter and featuring Dolly Parton.

Andrew Walker

Playing Cole on Sabrina the Teenage Witch was an early break, but Walker's lengthy résumé includes plenty of dramas, including an award-winning role in the 2007 feature Steel Toes.

He balances drama and comedy as adeptly as Santa walks on snowy rooftops, which makes him a great fit for Hallmark holiday movies, where he's starred opposite the likes of Jodie Sweetin and Nikki DeLoach. Catch Walker and Sweetin in this year's Merry & Bright.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 11, 2019

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