It’s been said many times this holiday season: Hallmark is knocking it out of the park with thoughtful stories full of heart. One such story brings Good Witch’s Catherine Bell back into the fold.
Christmas on Cherry Lane features a sprawling cast of actors we continually welcome into our homes, and we get to peer inside of characters’ homes on Cherry Lane.
Bell took some time to share her thoughts on returning to Hallmark with her costar at her side, and the significance of friends, family, and our greater community in our lives.
I have to tell you, I still miss Good Witch, so to welcome you back with James Denton at your side is such a wonderful Christmas gift.
Thank you. We’re excited because Good Witch ended before we were all ready to say goodbye, so this is a little nod to that.
Was it nice working together again?
Oh my gosh, so nice. We love each other. We actually stay in touch and send each other funny memes and silly things and tease each other all the time. That was perfect.
Well, that’s good because I always imagine that when past costars get together, you might imagine where your characters might be at this time. Have you guys done that?
Imagine what our characters might be like future had they continued?
Yes! What do you think they might be doing?
That’s so cute. I hadn’t thought about that. Well, let’s see there. We were going off to Europe. They’re probably still there. The kids are grown. They’re just exploring the world, enjoying each other. That’s kind of what I imagine.
That is probably right. They left, and they were ready to explore a completely different chapter.
Christmas on Cherry Lane is such a beautiful story. What were your thoughts when you first read the script?
Same, exactly that. I was instantly hooked. It’s just so sweet and touching. You’ve seen the movie?
Yes, I did. I watched it this morning. Wow.
Oh, cute. Well, as you know, we can’t give away too much, but it’s so sweet.
It’s such a sweet, touching story, and the way everything comes together and how all of these people have a connection and just families and friendships and all of it. The holidays. It’s so touching. I loved it.
And how would you describe your character, how she fits in the story?
She’s different than other characters I’ve played. She’s kind of at a retirement age, of course, retiring a little bit early, not actual retirement age.
But she’s got grown kids and is starting a new chapter in her life, which is exciting for her, but it takes her kids a minute to get used to, of course. And so she’s kind of navigating all of that.
How do you navigate this new man you’re in love with, and then the kids making sure that they’re okay and holiday time and traditions? You’ve got new traditions and old traditions and tying those together.
I certainly understand all of that as the kids get older and relationships change, and still somehow figuring out how to make it all as magical as Christmas should be.
It kind of reminds me of Good Witch with the interconnectedness of families and how being a part of a community can really change their lives.
Why do you think that message is something that we need to hear so often?
God, yes. I mean, it is. It’s just relates to every one of us. Wherever you are in the world, whatever age or whatever you’re doing with your life, we all need friends and family and those connections, even the people who think they don’t. I mean, really, we do. It’s human nature.
And finding that it’s such a beautiful concept. I find the older I get, the more I realize how much I need that: my friends, my family.
It’s funny too, the concept, and we have that in this film, is like we have our family that you’re born with. You have the blood family, and that’s so important to stay connected to and keep those relationships going. And sometimes that can be challenging, as one of our storylines in the movie shows.
But how do you still love those people even though they might drive you crazy and keep that alive?
And then also you have those new friends that we make that become family. We all hopefully have that in our lives. You have a best friend that you’ve known forever or even a neighbor who you become so close, and then they become family as well.
I think all of those concepts are just so beautiful and important.
It’s so funny, I was actually talking to somebody about that today and how I’ve not known this person for very long at all. And I said, “From the moment we first started talking and, at first, we only met online,” I said, “I just felt connected. I just knew you were going to be one of my friends.”
I love that.
And then I watched this movie, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re going to have to watch this, and you’ll know why.”
It’s so cute. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
It fits perfectly.
I have a friend like that. She’s like my sister. We met, we were going to the same vacation spot. It was actually the Millennium New Year’s, so it was just before 2000.
We met in an airport, and she and her husband were there and me and my husband. And we were just like, “I feel like I’ve known you.”
We just started chatting and we’re like, “Wait a minute. We’re going to the same place.” And next thing you know, we ended up having friends in common and we’ve been best friends ever since, like a sister.
And that’s it. That found family that you create is just so important. And I love when stories focus on that.
Kind of the combination, too, and Christmas on Cherry Lane has it all right.
Exactly. I’m so glad you liked it. We were really having fun shooting it and reading it and just hearing all the different storylines and how they come together. I love it.
And it also kind of ties together with the Christmas tradition of giving Hallmark ornaments.
Did you have a favorite Christmas tradition or even a favorite Hallmark ornament whenever you were growing up?
I did. Actually, in my family, we always went to the Hallmark stores in the malls. I still have some from when I was a little girl. I always loved the little cute ones, the cute little animals and things, very much into miniature little things like that.
And so I still have a couple of those left. And then, just being a part of the Hallmark family for so many years, when my kids were younger, Hallmark would always send me the ornaments.
But I also have this one huge snow globe. It’s like a giant Hallmark ornament, basically. And we bring it out every Christmas, and the kids will love it. We still have to bring that. They’re all grown. They’re 20, they’re 13, but “Where’s the big snow globe?”
I’m like, “Guy’s, our house flooded. We’re in storage; we’re renting a place. Do we really need to get it?” And they’re like, “Yes, go get it right now.” [laughs]
I do. I have a little Snoopy.
You do? Oh yeah, the Snoopy.
Ironically, I even still have the little wee Hallmark box that it came in. I don’t even know how I kept that all these years.
No way. That’s amazing.
But that’s something that’s just never left.
Oh my God, that’s so cute. And they have the year on them, and what a great little memory, and you get just to bring them out every year and put them back on the tree. It’s so cute.
Hallmark is also very clever in introducing new ideas for Christmas traditions. And you guys had a fun scene that included wrapping a gift blindfold. And I’ve got to know, how much of that scene did you really do with a blindfold on?
We did. [laughs] We actually did it, and it was funny. We didn’t know what we were doing and trying to save the lines and fumble around and fumble correctly the way it’s scripted. It’s always a challenge and always fun. We definitely had a good laugh on that one.
I thought that would be such a nice addition. So many Christmas traditions are more of the sentimental type, and this is just something where you kind of get loose and just have a good time with the people around you.
Of course, then there are also the people who are going to get angry because they don’t win, but still. [laughs]
And how would you describe Christmas on Cherry Lane for those who are so eager to watch it?
I think you’re going to have to watch, just get the full story and the full magic of it all, of course, because, as we talked about, we can’t give too much away.
But I think it’s just about friendships, families, the friends that become families, the families we’re born with, how they affect us and how we all interrelate, and just the magic of Christmas and what all of that means for those families.
And if we’re going to believe anybody when it comes to magic, it’s going to be the Good Witch!
Definitely, you’re right there.
I want to thank you so much for chatting with me today, Catherine, and I can’t wait for people to see this movie.
I keep saying that to everybody I talk with, but Hallmark has just knocked it out of the park this year with so many entirely different storylines to keep fans engaged. And I just feel like you’re all so lucky to be a part of this season.
Absolutely. I really feel that way always. It’s just so touching and heartwarming, and so many people I run into everywhere are so excited just to continue watching. They’re such good family, feel-good, lovely shows.
Christmas on Cherry Lane premieres tonight at 8/7c, only on Hallmark Channel!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.