Haylie Duff Talks New 'Feel-Good' Christmas Movie — and What 'The Brady Bunch' Cast Is Really Like

PEOPLE Presents: Blending Christmas premieres Dec. 12 on Lifetime.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas these days — but Haylie Duff has been feeling the holiday spirit since March when she began filming her new Lifetime movie, People Presents: Blending Christmas.

The actress and mom of two, 36, stars as protagonist Emma in the festive film, alongside Christmas movie veteran Aaron O'Connell, who plays her love interest, Liam.

The movie follows the couple as Liam takes Emma to celebrate the holidays at her favorite resort (with plans to propose!) and surprises her by bringing in both his and her family members for the special occasion. Those family members — who, of course, bring the drama — are played by none other than original Brady Bunch stars Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen and Robbie Rist, as well as Brady Bunch movie star Jennifer Elise Cox, Beth Broderick, Telma Hopkins and Greg Evigan.

blending Christmas

"Blending Christmas has everything that you hope that these Lifetime holiday movies have in them," Duff tells PEOPLE exclusively of the project, which premieres December 12. "It's got holiday décor, love and a lot of comedy in it. And we have the Brady Bunch, which is like the greatest blended family you can think of, as well!"

"It's just a really fun little story," she adds, noting that it was the first project she worked on after a long pause due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and she feels lucky to have done so alongside such great people.

One team member that was extra special for Duff to work alongside was the director, Marla Sokoloff, who has been a friend of hers since she was a teenager. "Coming out of the pandemic and getting to work with one of my good girlfriends as the director was a dream," Duff says. "For her to be the boss lady was really fun for me on set."

And, of course, not everyone can say they've gotten to act alongside four of the original six Brady kids, and Duff understands what an honor it was to have had that opportunity as well.

"They have a beautiful friendship between all of them," she says. "They're all sweet and have great personalities each in their own right, but together they are like a dynamo. It was really cool."

She admits she didn't know what the TV family's dynamic would be like before she met them — but she was pleasantly surprised.

"They were in such a crazy situation, on such an iconic show for so long, you just don't know what their dynamics are going to be like," she says. "Like, 'Do they actually really like each other, do they not like each other?' But they had such genuine love and admiration for each other, and you could see their chemistry on set but offset too. And that to me was really such a cool thing to get to witness: these people that have this history and that just still genuinely care for each other so much."

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Now, as the premiere date inches closer, Duff hopes that viewers have as good of a time watching the film as she and the cast and crew had making it.

It's a great, feel-good movie," she promises. "You don't have to think about everything else going on in the world. You can just dive into a happy little holiday film."

PEOPLE Presents: Blending Christmas premieres Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

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