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The 12 stars of holiday TV movies

Just like those relatives you see at the holidays, the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, ION and UP TV are again bringing out familiar faces for Christmas. With nearly 50 new films this season and hundreds from previous years filling out the hours between premieres, you can cozy up with all your favorite actors – even if you don’t know their names.

To help, we’ve compiled 12 stars of Christmas TV movies - and we could easily have doubled that list. The only requirement was a new film this season – hence the omission of a perennial favorite like Cameron Mathison. (We’ll just have to look for repeats of his 2013 holiday drama, “The Christmas Ornament.”)

Here’s a look at our list.

Lacey Chabert's new holiday movie is "The Sweetest Christmas" premiering on Hallmark Channel. (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Ricardo Hubbs)


New: “The Sweetest Christmas,” premiering at 8 p.m. Nov. 11 on Hallmark.

Also: “Christmas Melody,” “Royal Christmas,” “A Wish for Christmas,” “Matchmaker Santa,” “Family for Christmas,”  “The Three That Saved Christmas” and “A Holiday Heist.”

Facts: You may remember her as a kid on “Party of Five.” Today, Hallmark loves the fresh faced and youthful Chabert, casting her in a regular slate of romantic dramas including "All of My Heart" and its recent sequel "All of My Heart: Inn Love," and holiday films.

The newest Christmas movie starring Vivica A. Fox is "A Christmas Cruise" premiering on ION.


New: “A Christmas Cruise,” 9 p.m. Dec. 16 on ION.

Also: “A Husband for Christmas,” “A Royal Family Christmas,” “Annie Claus is Coming to Town,” “Farewell Mr. Kringle,” “So This is Christmas,” “Holiday Heist,” “A Christmas Wedding.”

Facts: The busy and popular actress has been on the big screen (“Independence Day" and its sequel "Independence Day: Resurgence”), the small screen (“Empire,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Sharknado 2”), the stage and even in Buffalo filming “Crossbreed” and “Queen City.” She's done a few Christmas movies along the way, too.

Eion Bailey and Candace Cameron Bure star in Hallmark Channel's "Switched for Christmas." (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Jeremy Lee)


New: “Switched for Christmas” 8 p.m. Nov. 26 on Hallmark.

Also: “Journey Back to Christmas,” “A Christmas Detour,” “Christmas Under Wraps,” “Let It Snow,” “Heart of Christmas,” “Moonlight & Mistletoe.”

Facts: The face of Hallmark and its Christmas movies since the sweet 2008 film "Moonlight & Mistletoe," Cameron Bure is best known as young DJ on “Full House” and its reboot “Fuller House.” She plays the title role in Hallmark’s Aurora Teagarden mystery movies and has starred in multiple films for the network.

Bethany Joy Lenz and Andrew Walker star in "Snowed-Inn Christmas." (Courtesy Lifetime.)


New: “Snowed-Inn Christmas,” 8 p.m. Dec. 16 on Lifetime

Also: “A Dream of Christmas,” “Debbie Macomber’s Dashing Through the Snow,” “Finding Mrs. Claus,” “A Bride for Christmas.”

Facts: Walker has quietly put together a full resume of television holiday films over the past few years. With a bit of a wink in his eye, he's  playful and easy-going in rom-coms like “Bridal Wave” and “Perfect Catch” that he did for Hallmark. Earlier in his career, you may have seen him on the TV shows “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” or “Maybe It’s Me.”

Alicia Witt's bubbly personality makes her perfect for holiday films like "The Mistletoe Inn." (Credit Crown Media United States LLC/Kailey Schwerman)


“The Mistletoe Inn,” 8 p.m. Nov. 23 on Hallmark.

Also: “Christmas List,” “I’m Not Ready for Christmas,” “A Very Merry Mix Up,” “Christmas at Cartwrights,” “Snow Globe Christmas.”

Christmas movies arrive on the Hallmark networks

Facts: Witt has an effervescent personality and playful spirit that make her perfect for holiday fare. Check out “A Very Merry Mix Up” for a wonderful feel-good film with a sweet romance and an extended family you'll fall in love with - just as her character did. Witt has been a regular on  “Nashville” and “Justified” and a had short-lived, but notable role on “The Walking Dead.”

Erin Krakow stars in the new "Engaging Father Christmas," a sequel to "Finding Father Christmas." (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Kailey Schwerman)


New:“Engaging Father Christmas,” 9 p.m. Nov. 12 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and “When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree,” 8  p.m. Dec. 25 on Hallmark.

Also: “Finding Father Christmas,” “When Calls the Heart Christmas” and “Cookie Cutter Christmas.”

Facts: Krakow is one of the faces of Hallmark, carrying the lead role in the network's hit series “When Calls the Heart,” and starring in multiple features. She was previously on “Army Wives” and “Guiding Light.”

David Haydn-Jones stars in "A Bramble House Christmas" premiering on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Ricardo Hubbs)


“A Bramble House Christmas,” 9 p.m. Nov. 19 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Also: “A Cookie Cutter Christmas,” “My Christmas Dream” and “Dear Santa.”

Facts: His quiet demeanor and attractive vulnerability are reasons why Haydn-Jones is often cast as a loving single dad in holiday films. Those qualities were especially evident in the sweet 2011 Lifetime movie “Dear Santa.” He joined “Supernatural” for season 12.

Paul Greene stars in two new holiday movies for the Hallmark networks in 2017. (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Bettina Strauss)


New: “Christmas in Angel Falls,” 9 p.m. Dec. 2 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and “When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree,” 8 p.m. Dec. 25 on Hallmark.

Also: “A Christmas Detour,”  “A Wish for Christmas.”

Facts: Greene previously starred as the ill-fated human boyfriend of a werewolf in the Syfy series “Bitten.” Since then, he has quickly become a Hallmark leading man (“Campfire Kiss,” “Anything for Love,” “Perfect Wedding”), so it wasn’t surprising to see him join the network's flagship series “When Calls The Heart” in 2017.

Danica McKellar has starred in four made-for-TV holiday movies. (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Ryan Plummer)


New: “Coming Home for Christmas,” 8 p.m. Nov. 18 on Hallmark.

Also: “My Christmas Dream,” “A Crown for Christmas,” “Love at the Christmas Table.”

Facts: If you see McKellar and think Winnie from “The Wonder Years,” you’re not alone. She’s now a regular in Hallmark features like “Campfire Kiss” and “Wedding Bells.” Be sure to watch the charming 2012 Lifetime film “Love at the Christmas Table” that followed the relationship of two childhood friends through the years.

Niall Matter returns with Erin Krakow for the holiday sequel "Engaging Father Christmas." (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/ Kailey Schwerman)


New: “Engaging Father Christmas,” 9 p.m. Nov. 12 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Also: “A Snow Capped Christmas,” “Finding Father Christmas.”

Facts: Think that nice guy next door always willing to lend a hand to family and friends and you’ve got Matter. He joined Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart” series this year and previously starred on “Eureka,” the reboot of “90210” and “Primeval: New World.”

Brennan Elliott, pictured here in the 2015 Hallmark movie "A Christmas Melody," is back with a new holiday movie. (Crown Media United States, LLC/Brian Douglas)


New: “Christmas Encore,” 8 p.m. Dec. 10 on Hallmark.

Also:  “Love You Like Christmas” and “A Christmas Melody.”

Facts: He’s handsome, funny and not afraid to play a guy who might be a bit “misguided.” That makes him one of busiest and most versatile Hallmark stars as a regular on “Cedar Cove,” the “Flower Shop Mystery” movie series and feature films. If you remember him as the young intern on "Strong Medicine," give yourself bonus points.

Luke MacFarlane is a familiar face on Hallmark for the holidays. (Credit: Crown Media United States LLC/ Ryan Plummer)


 New: “Karen Kingbury’s Maggie’s Christmas Miracle,” 9 p.m. Dec. 16 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Also: “Mistletoe Promise” and “Christmas Land.”

Facts: With a perennial smile and an easy-going nature, Macfarlane has been a go-to in Hallmark movies like “Birthday Wish” and “Memory Book.” He’s also had lengthy stints on the TV shows “The Killjoys” and “Brothers & Sisters.”



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