This year’s crop of holiday movies and specials has more than a few familiar faces, including some blasts from the past you may not have been expecting. Part of the joy of watching these holiday shows is being able to sit down with stars you may not have seen in a while — it’s like catching up with an old friend (which we actually did with a few of them). So this year, find a comfy couch, brew a cup of tea and spend some time with old friends on Hallmark.
HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE
You may remember Holly Robinson Peete from her olden days busting the bad guys on 21 Jump Street from 1987 to 1991. She’s decidedly more joyous in the film Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing (Hallmark Channel, Dec. 5) as a soon-to-be bride. The movie also stars Rukiya Bernard as Hannah, who steps up to assist with the launch of a new museum while Michelle’s (Peete) wedding approaches.
Christmas She Wrote (Hallmark Channel, Dec. 6) features Danica McKellar from The Wonder Years. When the beloved family series aired from 1988 to 1993, McKellar played the winsome Winnie Cooper. While McKellar has been plenty busy since then, here she’s grown up and playing Kayleigh, a romance writer who has her regular column canceled right before Christmas. She decides to go home to spend some time with her family, but while she’s there, she’s visited by the man (Dylan Neal) who canceled her column in the first place who’s looking to make amends.
BEN SAVAGE AND MARILU HENNER
Hallmark also has a new addition to their regular schedule this year — a Hanukkah movie! Love, Lights, Hanukkah! (Hallmark Channel, Dec. 20) stars Mia Kirshner and Ben Savage, who you might remember from his days as Cory Matthews on Boy Meets World from 1993 to 2000. The film follows Christina (Kirshner) as she prepares her restaurant for the busy holiday season, but she soon receives a DNA test telling her she’s actually Jewish. This discovery leads to a host of new experiences for her, including family and even romance over those eight nights. Also starring in the film is Marilu Henner, who additionally appears on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ own Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. She, of course, is a familiar face as well from all the way back to her days on Taxi (1978-83).
LACEY CHABERT & BLAKE SHELTON
Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Dec. 6) comes from executive producer and country music star Blake Shelton. It stars Lacey Chabert, a Hallmark movie mainstay in recent years since her turn on Party of Five back from 1994 to 2000. In the film, five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn to celebrate Christmas. Sarah (Chabert) looks for connections between the guests, and with the help of the owner (Stephen Huszar), discovers something that may change their lives forever.
Tamera Mowry-Housley is another familiar face, both to those who are regulars to Hallmark’s Christmas specials and to those who watched her series Sister, Sister (1994-99). This year she’s in Christmas Comes Twice (Hallmark Channel, Dec. 13) as Emily, a top television newscaster who has seen her career dreams come true but still has regrets about “the one who got away” five years before. When the Christmas carnival comes to town, she’s given a chance to go back in time and have a second chance — but she only has limited time before she must return to Christmas present.