Lifetime's 2018 Holiday Lineup Features Melissa Joan Hart, Rekindled Romances, A "One Tree Hill" Reunion, & More!
So, I know it’s like BARELY Fall right now…. And it’s like not even Halloween yet… but y’all… I may or may not be ready for Christmas. And let me tell you why.
This year, starting November 21, as a part of their yearly “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” campaign, the Lifetime network is bringing on the BIGGEST and MOST EXCITING holiday programming that we’ve seen in years. The network will premiere 14 (you heard that right, 14!!!) new original TV movies, four acquired films, and will be re-airing FIVE classic Christmas favorites.
Let’s see what these 14 new films will have to offer, shall we?
My Christmas Inn (Nov. 21 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Rob Mayes, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid, Erin Gray
Ya’ll, the “Sister-Sister” cast is reunited! In this film, with the Holidays in full swing, Jen Taylor (Tia Mowry-Hardrict) is about to score a big promotion at the San Francisco ad agency where she works. But then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she ends up inheriting her aunt’s cozy inn in Alaska. When she goes to inspect the property, it’s not at all what she expects. Along the way, she meets handsome town attorney Steve Anderson (Rob Mayes). The small town community is full of fun and festive Christmas traditions, and soon Jen starts wondering if the inn might just be the place where she belongs.... and if Steve could be the Mr. Right she has been waiting for. AWWWW!
The Christmas Contract (Nov. 22 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner, Jordan Ladd, Cheryl Ladd, Bruce Boxleitner, Jason London, Hunter Burke, Teri Wyble, Ritchie Montgomery; with special musical appearance from Tyler Hilton
First a “Sister-Sister” reunion, now a “One Tree Hill” cast reunion? Christmas came early this year, thank you, Santa! In The Christmas Contract, Jolie (Hilarie Burton) is headed back home to Louisiana for the first time since her breakup with her boo Foster (Hunter Burke). She knows that she’s bound to see him, given that their parents run the town’s annual Christmas Market together. But she then learns that Foster is bringing home a new girlfriend, and she can’t possibly bear the thought of going home alone and seeing them together. Her BFF Naomi (Danneel Ackles) suggests that Jolie bring her flaky brother, Jack (Robert Buckley), home with her. Jolie, a professional web designer, is hesitant; so, Naomi, a lawyer, creates a Christmas contract to give them both something they want -- if Jack helps Jolie face her ex and his new girl, she will design a website to help sell Jack’s upcoming novel. Unbeknownst to them, the Christmas contract proves to be so much more than what they signed up for. DANG, OK my heart is sold, I’m ready for this film ASAP.
'Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion (Nov. 22 at 10pm ET/PT)
Featuring: Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner, Stephen Colletti
MORE “ONE TREE HILL” THANK GOD. Sidenote, can you believe it’s been 15 years since it first aired? In this reunion, The Tree Hill Ravens are back and better than ever to celebrate the Holidays with Lifetime. In this special one-hour reunion, Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Danneel Ackles, and Antwon Tanner of The Christmas Contract along with Stephen Colletti of Hometown Christmas, reunite for a special evening that will include a few surprise special guests.
Poinsettias for Christmas (Nov. 23 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Bethany Joy Lenz, Marcus Rosner, Lauren London, Sharon Lawrence, John Schneider
A few weeks leading up to Christmas, Ellie (Bethany Joy Lenz) gets a call to return home and help her father (John Schneider) on their family's poinsettia farm. The farm is set to deliver THOUSANDS of plants to be featured in the town's annual parade. The only problem? Well, the poinsettias haven’t turned red yet, yikes! Ellie comes home to find a solution, and along the way finds love, falling back in love with her roots, and falling for a local botanist (Marcus Rosner). How sweet!
Every Day Is Christmas (Nov. 24 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring Toni Braxton, Gloria Reuben, Towanda Braxton, Michael Jai White
Yes, it's the ubiquitous, annual made-for-TV holiday movie based on the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol -- it wouldn't be a Holiday lineup without one (or 5)! In this latest version, shrewd money manager Alexis Taylor (Toni Braxton) gets a surprise holiday visiter. As a self-proclaimed workaholic who says “bah, humbug” to love, Alexis learns to embrace the spirit of Christmas when her past, present, and future collide, forcing her to risk the one thing money can’t buy: her heart. Daaaaang, modern day A Christmas Carol? With Toni Braxton? Unbreak my heart, I’m in.
Jingle Belle (Nov. 25 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Tatyana Ali, Cornelius Smith Jr., Loretta Devine, Valarie Pettiford, Obba Babatunde, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Tempestt Bledsoe
Every year, Isabelle (Tatyana Ali) and Mike (Cornelius Smith Jr.), her high school sweetheart, would crush it at their small town’s annual Christmas Eve Pageant with a sweet Christmas duet. But after graduation, Isabelle left for the Big Apple to study at Juilliard, leaving poor Mike behind. Years later, Isabelle returns to her hometown to write music for the very same Christmas Eve Pageant she once starred in, and is shocked to learn that Mike is the director. Can they leave the past in the past and reunite on stage for another show-stopping duet?
A Very Nutty Christmas (Nov. 30 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Melissa Joan Hart, Barry Watson, Marissa Winokur, Conchata Ferrell, Rizwan Manji
Would Lifetime’s Holiday slate be complete if they didn’t play at least ONE movie with Melissa Joan Hart? Hart stars as Kate Holiday, a hard-working bakery owner who has more cookie orders than she has time to fill this holiday season. When her BF suddenly dumps her, any last hope of Christmas joy she was holding out for vanishes. After hanging the last ornament and going to sleep, she awakens the next day to some Christmas magic. She gets the surprise of her life when Chip (Barry Watson), a handsome soldier who may or may not be the Nutcracker Prince from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, appears in her living room. I hope she finds a new love and bakes ALLLL the cookies.
A Twist of Christmas (Dec. 1 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Vanessa Lachey, Brendon Zub
Right in the middle of the holiday season rush, two single parents -- busy working mom Abby (Vanessa Lachey) and overwhelmed lawyer Ryan (Brendon Zub) -- get in a mix-up of sorts at a crowded department store, mixing up their kids' toys. Because of this, Christmas is RUINED! Even though these two can’t stand each other, the only way to get things back on track is to help each other salvage their holiday plans – not realizing they're falling for each other in the process. Ugh, I love a good movie where people that dislike each other end up falling for each other once they get to know the other person. Mix that in with a Christmas theme, and this movie already sounds like a win.
The Christmas Pact (Dec. 2 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Kyla Pratt, Jarod Joseph, Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy
Kyla Pratt!! As a little girl, I LOVED “The Proud Family”, so I’m pumped for this one. In The Christmas Pact (not to be confused with The Christmas Contract), next door neighbors Sadie (Kyla Pratt) and Ben (Jarod Joseph) will answer the age-old question of “can best friends fall in love?” as they keep the spirit of Christmas and the magic of their childhood pact alive! When these two were 8 years old, they planted a 3-foot tall Christmas tree behind their church and created the Christmas Pact. But, sometimes life just gets in the way, and it looks like, now, the pact is threatened to be broken, and it looks like Ben and Sadie need some Christmas Magic to keep the pact and their traditions alive. Each year, their tree grows taller and stronger; and so does their love. The pact bearing fruit to the magic of Christmas and the undeniable answer: Yes, friends can fall in love! As much as I love stories of enemies falling in love, I ALSO love best friends falling in love, and this film seems to hit the nail on the head with that.
Christmas Lost and Found (Dec. 7 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Tiya Sircar, Ed Ruttle, Diane Ladd
New York City event planner Whitney Kennison (Tiya Sircar) is finally off to Chicago to spend Christmas with her Grandma Frances (Diane Ladd), after years of missing family get-togethers. Excited that her granddaughter is back home to celebrate the holidays, Grandma Frances decides to gift Whitney with the precious Kennison family Christmas ornaments. But, chaos ensues when Whitney mistakenly throws the ornaments away, and Grandma Frances comes up with a plan to find them and remind Whitney what Christmas is all about. It's a race against time as Whitney reclaims the family ornaments, finds romance, and learns the lessons Grandma Frances imparts. I love this idea! It seems like Whitney is a workaholic, and being back with Grandma Frances is about to teach her some serious lessons that she’s needed to learn.
Santa's Boots (Dec. 8 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Megan Hilty, Noah Mills, June Squibb
Holly (Megan Hilty) returns home for Christmas and expects it to go pretty much the same as years past. But then she's blindsided to learn her family-run department store is on the brink of foreclosure. To help keep their business alive, she fills in as Santa’s Helper. As Santa’s Helper, she ends up meeting Nick (Noah Mills), who ends up playing Santa at the store this year. Their undeniable chemistry and charisma draw in big crowds, until one day, Nick disappears. As Christmas Day inches closer, Holly scrambles to find Nick with only one clue -- his misplaced black boot. Ooooh, sounds like Cinderella with a Christmas twist!
A Christmas in Tennessee (Dec. 9 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Rachel Boston, Andrew Walker, Patricia Richardson, Caroline Rhea
In A Christmas in Tennessee, Allison Bennet (Rachel Boston), daughter Olivia, and mother Martha (Patricia Richardson), run a bakery in a small Tennessee mountain town. When the handsome real estate developer Matthew (Andrew Walker) swoops in to try and buy the town for a corporate ski resort, Allison and the townspeople are faced with the task of making sure that doesn’t happen. And just when it seems like all hope is lost for the Bennet clan, an unexpected visitor -- with a well-known sweet tooth for cookies and milk -- comes to the bakery and may in fact be the key to solving everything. SANTA??? Santa saves the day?? I love it.
Christmas Around the Corner (Dec. 14 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Alexandra Breckenridge, Jamie Spilchuk, Jane Alexander
Claire (Alexandra Breckenridge) escapes from NYC to a quiet town in Vermont for the holidays and becomes a guest of the Fortenbury Bookstore. Upon arrival, Claire finds out that the town's Christmas celebrations have been canceled after a flood, leaving the bookstore damaged and desperate of disrepair. She immediately tasks herself to fix up the store but clashes with the owner, Andrew (Jamie Spilchuk), who doesn’t like her ideas for improvement at first. Eventually, they get to know each other and begin a budding romance. Claire’s infectious optimism inspires Andrew to join her in reviving the yuletide spirit. Byt when Claire discovers that Andrew is planning to sell the bookstore, her plans come to a halt. Will the spirit of Christmas be enough to change Andrew’s mind and encourage him to follow his heart? I hope so!
Christmas Pen Pals (Dec. 15 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Sarah Drew, Niall Matter, Michael Gross
After an unexpected breakup right before Christmas, tech wiz and dating app creator, Hannah (Sarah Drew), heads home for the Holidays, now challenged to save her failing business by coming up with an all new romantic dating model. Once home, Hannah runs into Sam (Niall Matter), her high school boyfriend whom she’s been actively avoiding for years. She’s also now made a deal with her dad Ted (Michael Gross) to sign up for the town’s Christmas Cupid, an anonymous holiday pen pal service. As the season progresses, Hannah becomes smitten with her pen pals letters, believing that they could be her soulmate. It’s not until Christmas Eve that everyone must reveal their true identities to their pen pals, even if it means coming face to face with the last person they ever expected. OOOOH, I really hope the high school boyfriend is the pen pal. I really want a rekindling of an old romance, please!
Hometown Christmas (Dec. 16 at 8pm ET/PT)
Starring: Beverley Mitchell, Stephen Colletti, Melissa Gilbert, Danny Boaz
Back in Louisiana (again) for Christmas, Noelle Collins (Beverley Mitchell) has big plans to resurrect her late mother’s old town tradition of putting on a live Nativity, But, it looks like things will become complicated when Noelle runs into Nick (Stephen Colletti), her high school sweetheart. Nick Russell is a rising baseball star, who returns back home to Louisiana following a recent injury. Still feeling the burn from their break-up, they are forced to be together when they learn of their parents' budding romance. When the plans of the live Nativity start to fall apart, these exes reluctantly come together to pull it off. They find themselves growing close yet again, uncovering a hometown love for each other and the joy of Christmas that both never really faded away. Swoon!
So many hometown returns, so many businesses in jeopardy, so much unexpected love, so many high school sweethearts and old flames rekindling, and I am HERE for it! Bring on the Christmas Season! It’s a Wonderful Lifetime begins on November 21 at 8PM on the Lifetime Network!
(Image via Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
- Brooke Sharland, YH Contributing Writer