There are two ways of thinking about A Wish for Christmas, a holiday-themed Hallmark Channel movie that premieres at 7 p.m. Saturday, two days before Halloween.
One is to cynically accuse the network of horning in on trick-or-treat’s turf. Isn’t this just a crass attempt to get an early start selling Christmas advertising time to retailers?
The other point of view is to accept that Hallmark Channel has a ho-ho-whole lot of holiday cheer.
Lacey Chabert, the leading lady of A Wish for Christmas, chooses the latter option.
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“I guess it does seem a little bit early,” she says. “I was quite surprised when I found out that we’d be premiering before Halloween. But with so much negativity in the world, I think it’s important to put out positive, feel-good material.
So yes, maybe it’s early. But at the same time, it’s not a moment too soon.
Actress Lacey Chabert
“So yes, maybe it’s early. But at the same time, it’s not a moment too soon.”
A Wish for Christmas is the first of 19 original ’tis-the-season titles that will air on Hallmark Channel this year during its two-month-long, round-the-clock “Countdown to Christmas” movie marathon.
Last year’s Countdown brought nearly 80 million viewers to the network in November and December. So for Hallmark, it’s the most wonderful time of the year in more ways than one.
Chabert, who is perhaps best known for her six-year run on Party of Five (1994-2000), plays a young woman who has been a pushover her whole life. Sara has always been afraid to speak up for herself, but everything changes the moment Santa Claus gives her what she most desires: tell-it-like-it-is confidence.
Sara quickly gets promoted from junior web designer to de facto director of marketing and is sent to pitch her innovative “Christmas 365” marketing campaign to a Scrooge-like client.
But she’ll have to work fast. Santa’s magic confidence booster will last just 48 hours.
This being a Hallmark movie, it’s no spoiler to reveal that there’s also a love story.
This is Chabert’s fifth holiday-themed movie in three years.
“I love Christmas,” she explains. “These movies are always special to me, because I am the kind of person who never thinks it’s too early to start the Christmas festivity. I look forward to it every year.
“I love all of the traditions: the stockings and decorating and presents and baking and being with family. And now I get the joy of passing all that on to my daughter (who was born in September).
“I was six-and-a-half months pregnant when I did this movie.”
Chabert plans to spend her Christmas in Dallas with family.
“This has been a very momentous year in my family,” she says. “My brother’s baby was born three days before mine. So it will be an incredible celebration of all the blessings that we’ve had.
“Also, my brother is overcoming cancer. He was diagnosed with leukemia in March, which was just so startling — it turned everything upside down. But he’s in remission and almost finished with his chemo and we’re so incredibly thankful that he’s doing well.
“It really gave us all perspective.”
We made a list (and checked it twice) of Christmas movies, series and specials coming in November. We’ll be back next month with more:
The Mistletoe Promise (7 p.m. Nov. 5, Hallmark): Two holiday Scrooges pose as a romantic couple in the days leading up to Christmas. Jaime King and Luke Macfarlane star.
Love Always, Santa (8 p.m. Nov. 6, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): A girl writes a letter to Santa, asking that her widowed mom find love again. Marguerite Moreau and Mike Faiola star.
Every Christmas Has a Story (7 p.m. Nov. 12, Hallmark): After admitting on the air that she hates Christmas, a TV personality visits “the most Christmas-y town in America.” Lori Loughlin stars.
Christmas Cookies (7 p.m. Nov. 13, Hallmark): A factory owner is determined to keep a small-town Christmas cookie company from closing. Jill Wagner and Wes Brown star.
Finding Father Christmas (8 p.m. Nov. 13, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): Three days before Christmas, a woman embarks on a search for her long-missing father. Erin Krakow and Niall Matter star.
Cake Wars: Christmas (8 p.m. Nov. 14, Food Network): Teams compete to bake the most over-the-top Christmas cake confections and snag a $50,000 prize in this new series.
Worst Cooks in America (8 p.m. Nov. 16, Food Network): Holiday episode in which two hapless cooks must conquer their fears and create a delicious holiday dinner in two days.
My Christmas Dream (7 p.m. Nov. 19, Hallmark): An ambitious department-store manager hopes to win a promotion by creating the store’s most spectacular holiday display ever. Danica McKellar stars.
A December Bride (7 p.m. Nov. 20, Hallmark): Complications mount when a couple pretends to be engaged while attending a Christmas wedding. Jessica Lowndes and Daniel Lissing star.
Operation Christmas (8 p.m. Nov. 20, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): A single mother and her kids help struggling military families during the holidays. Tricia Helfer and Marc Blucas star.
Broadcasting Christmas (7 p.m. Nov. 23, Hallmark): A couple of ambitious TV news anchors compete to get the scoop on the best Christmas stories. Dean Cain and Melissa Joan Hart star.
Christmas in Homestead (7 p.m. Nov. 24, Hallmark): One of the most famous actresses in the world gets a taste of small-town Christmas — and romance. Taylor Cole and Michael Rady star.
Christmas List (7 p.m. Nov. 25, Hallmark): A woman’s plans for a romantic Christmas getaway in the woods are ruined when her boyfriend goes AWOL. Alicia Witt and Gabriel Hogan star.
A Heavenly Christmas (7 p.m. Nov. 26, Hallmark): After her untimely death, a workaholic woman becomes a Christmas angel in heaven. Kristin Davis, Eric McCormack and Shirley Maclaine star.
Journey Back to Christmas (7 p.m. Nov. 27, Hallmark): A WWII-era nurse is transported in time to 2016 and meets a man who helps her discover the meaning of Christmas. Candace Cameron Bure stars.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (8 p.m. Nov. 27, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries): A single mom’s Christmas is turned upside down by the arrival of her estranged dad. James Brolin and Mena Suvari star.
A Vermont Christmas Vacation (8 p.m. Nov. 27, ION): A woman is sent by her profit-obsessed boss to shut down a small clothing company. Chevy Chase, Howard Hesseman and Morgan Fairchild star.
Christmas Cookie Challenge (7 p.m. Nov. 28, Food Network): In this special, five confident bakers compete to prove their cookie-making skills. The winner goes home with a $10,000 prize.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (8 p.m. Nov. 30, NBC): An unexpected blizzard threatens the Parton family at Christmastime. Jennifer Nettles and Ricky Schroder star.
A Wish for Christmas
- 7 p.m. Saturday
- Hallmark Channel