PEOPLE's New Special Issue Celebrates TV Holiday Movies

Yes, it's (already) the season! Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Tia Mowry, Mario Lopez and more dish on their new Lifetime TV Christmas movies

People Lifetime Christmas

As holiday time approaches, thoughts turn again to tradition. And by "holiday time," we mean the crisp days when Halloween candy shares space with the season's first in-store Santas. Unpack the heirloom ornaments and the matching flannel jammies. Find that reliably potent eggnog recipe and those trusty reindeer cookie cutters. In these times, the lure of familiar comforts is stronger than ever. For many that means gathering in the glow of the television for Lifetime's cascade of Christmas movies.

This year, PEOPLE is celebrating the network's holiday movies with a new special edition, It's A Wonderful Lifetime Christmas. Inside, hear from stars of this year's lineup, including Reba McEntire, Tia Mowry, Mario Lopez, and Melissa Joan Hart. Hart, with eight previous titles to her credit (including some as star and director), is the Christmas Queen. She's played characters named Eve, Kate Holiday, and now in 2021's Mistletoe in Montana, a rancher named Merry. "We always want to keep everything very Christmas-related," notes Hart, 45.

Her new film is based on the true story of Hart's cousin, who fell for a wrangler in Wyoming. But since Hart, also a producer, was making a rom-com and not a documentary, she decided to swap the genders. "I said I want to be the wrangler!"

They shot in Montana over the summer, often suffering through over 90 degree heat while bundled up in flannel to reflect the film's winter-holiday setting. Between takes, says Hart, "I was half-naked on set" trying to cool down. "My goal now is to get Lifetime to do a summertime Christmas movie near the beach!"

People Lifetime Christmas
Melissa Joan Hart. Courtesy Lifetime

For her first Lifetime holiday movie, McEntire, 66, stars in Christmas in Tune, set in Nashville. "I think it's very important to get more movies into the state of Tennessee," says the star, who appears opposite Dukes of Hazzard alum John Schneider, 61. The two play ex-spouses brought together when they are roped into performing a concert organized by their daughter, Belle. (Yes, like silver bells, another holiday-themed name; everyone take a sip of eggnog!)

People Lifetime Christmas
Courtesy Lifetime

A veteran of Lifetime holiday fare, Lopez, 48, headlines Holiday in Sante Fe, filmed on location in New Mexico. Lopez, who in the past has played a toy store owner, this time portrays a purveyor of Christmas ornaments, while his real-life daughter, Gia, 11, plays his niece. "She steals the show," says the proud father of three.

Mowry, who calls herself a "huge fanatic of Christmas movies," appears in her third, Miracle in Motor City, for which she was also an executive producer. In the Detroit-set film, Mowry, 43, is a social worker who inadvertently promises to get Smokey Robinson to perform at her church's Christmas pageant. Not quite a spoiler alert: The legendary hitmaker actually shows up.

People Lifetime Christmas
Tia Mowry and Smokey Robinson (with Markeda McKay) in "Miracle in Motor City.". Courtesy Lifetime

"We have Smokey Robinson!" says a delighted Mowry, who once attended the same church as Robinson. And when Smokey sings, can romance be far behind? As with so many Lifetime Christmas films, this one is really a valentine. "What I love about this movie," says Mowry, "is we put a spotlight on the only thing you really need, which is love."

PEOPLE's new special edition It's a Wonderful Lifetime Christmas is available now wherever magazines are sold.

Related Articles