Television favorite Jodie Sweetin will be back on Hallmark Channel this weekend in the premiere of Entertaining Christmas, starring opposite Brendan Fehr. It's hard to believe a year has passed since Sweetin made her Hallmark debut, joining her Full and Fuller House co-stars Lori Loughlin and Candace Cameron Bure as member of the network's expanding family. "Last year I was Finding Santa and now I'm Entertaining Christmas," laughed Sweetin when MediaVillage spoke with her. "Finding Santa was my first Hallmark movie, and I shot Entertaining Christmas in October of this year, so I'm really in the fold of the Hallmark family, which I love. [CEO] Bill Abbott and [Executive Vice President of Programming and Publicity] Michelle Vicary, who works alongside him, have been so wonderful, warm, generous and kind in welcoming me and having me participate in some wonderful events and do these movies. It really is another family; they are great and so many of the actors from the shows and movies are people I know, have worked with, or I grew up watching. So it's really fun to get to see all of them and be a part of this together."
In Entertaining Christmas, Sweetin portrays Candace Livingstone, the daughter of lifestyle guru Liz Livingstone (Jane Moffat) and heir to the family empire. Candace is happy working behind the scenes of her mother's business, because while perfection comes easy for Liz, with Candace it's a constant struggle. When Liz is asked to help arrange a special Christmas party by Harper (Ana Araujo), a young girl living in Vermont, she sends Candace as a test to prove her abilities. While there, Candace meets John (Fehr, pictured below with Sweetin), the young girl's uncle and a reporter at the local newspaper. As feelings for him start to develop, Candace has no idea he's been asked to write a less-than-flattering expose on her, and with her lack of domestic skills evident, it provides him with excellent fodder.
"Originally, I was going to do a different [movie],” admitted Sweetin. "But I liked this story. Candace knows she isn't perfect and the whole point of the story is -- it's not about Christmas being perfect, or the meal being perfect, it's about what your family traditions are and what's perfect for you. Her mom does step in to help save the day, but Candace makes sure [the family's] traditions are included. I loved that as we all have our thing, be it decorating a tree together, watching Die Hard on Christmas day, A Christmas Story [marathon] for 24 hours, or Hallmark Channel.
"I loved that the story was about making [Christmas] your own," she added. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves at the holidays and if it's not perfect, Christmas is canceled! I do the same thing. If I can't find the perfect present or didn't wrap it right, that's it! I'm canceling Christmas. I have to remember it's all about getting together, sharing memories with my kids, family and loved ones. That's the important stuff; having a connection and taking the time to be thankful for what you have."
Sweetin told me the pressure of being perceived a certain way, like her character, was indeed something to which she could relate. "I think that [she's] really relatable in that she thinks everyone is expecting her to be her mother," she said. "I loved that throughout the story you do see her think she can take over things, but she's not going to be her mom. I think, as you get older, you do get a little more comfortable with who you are and who you want to be in the world. We all have to find our own story. I really liked that and thought it was an important message to tell."
One thing I had to address was the character's name; one shared by her long-time friend and Fuller House co-star Cameron Bure. "I thought it was really funny," she smiled. "Originally, she was named Cara, but they decided to go with Candace and for the first few days I wasn't used to it. Whenever I'd hear [the name] Candace, I'd be thinking of Candace (Cameron Bure). They'd say, 'Candace needs to be over there,' and I'd just be doing my thing, looking around, and then go, 'Oh, me?' I'm Candace!"
This Christmas is a special one for the busy Sweetin. In addition to Entertaining Christmas, she's celebrating the release of a Christmas single (available on iTunes), a duet of Santa Baby with her friend Jacob Tolliver. "We met at Full House creator Jeff Franklin's house years ago at one of his big music nights," she revealed. "We'd been talking about doing a song together and thought why not a Christmas song?"
She's also anticipating the Netflix release of season four of Fuller House on December 14, a snowboarding get-away with family, and her next Hallmark Christmas project. "Hopefully, there's Christmas movie No. 3," she laughed. "Only next time she will be [named] Lori, and then maybe Kimmie and then Stephanie. I'll just go through all the real and fake names of all the shows I've ever done."
Entertaining Christmaswill be telecast Saturday, December 15 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel as part of its Countdown to Christmas programming event.
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