Why Melissa Joan Hart Keeps Making Lifetime Christmas Movies

melissa joan hart mistletoe in montana lifetime christmas movie
(Image credit: Lifetime)

Unless you completely avoid all things Christmas as though your life depended on it, you’re probably at least aware of the fact that holiday movies are a big deal to a lot of people. This is especially true of the made-for-TV variety of holiday films, with Hallmark Christmas movies, and those from Lifetime, dominating the airwaves for well over a month before the actual holiday. Former Sabrina the Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart has been in several of these movies now, and she’s opened up about why she keeps making Lifetime Christmas movies.

Melissa Joan Hart is gearing up for the release of her latest Lifetime Christmas movie, Mistletoe in Montana, on December 17, and while talking to TV Insider about the project was asked why she keeps returning to the network for their holiday fare. This marks her fifth year in a row starring in a Lifetime Christmas movie, and it turns out that Hart is a fan of the style, as she noted:

They allow us to go outside the formula a little more, I think. There’s a bit more comedy infused.

While Hart did her first Lifetime holiday film back in 2014 (that’s The Santa Con, where she co-starred with Barry Watson and Jaleel White), it wasn’t until 2017’s A Very Merry Toy Store that she started on a path of helping to deliver yearly Christmas joy to Lifetime viewers. And, from having watched her movies and several of the channel’s other offerings, I can confirm that they do tend to lean hard on the comedy if they’re going to feature funny stuff at all.

And, it’s lovely. As Hart noted, there are lots of pieces to the formula that’s been developed for these movies, and one of the reasons that so many people love them dearly is because they know what they’re getting. Regardless of the particulars of any of these stories, the audience can comfortably sit back with their spiked hot cocoa (don’t act like you’ve never done it) and let all the troubles of their day fade away so that they can revel in the romance and Christmas spirit held within, even if they’re not really feeling either in their real lives.

Of course, it should be noted that Hart also did a relatively recent Hallmark Christmas movie, 2016’s Broadcasting Christmas, but while several actors do films for each channel, she’s stuck with Lifetime. This may be because she likes the pure, silly pleasure she’s found in the Lifetime offerings way more than some of the intensely earnest stories that come from Hallmark on a yearly basis, though both types of movies give fans a lot to love.

Speaking about that beloved formula, there is one thing that viewers of all of these Christmas movies need to see, regardless of whatever else happens, and Hart believes that Lifetime manages to always deliver that, while still stepping outside of the typical rules applied. She continued:

People at Christmastime want a happy ending. They want to know the girl gets the guy. It’s hard to stray from that when it’s worked for so many years.

YESSSS, Melissa Joan Hart! Yes, we do want our HEA (happily ever after) at the end of your Lifetime Christmas movie! And, if we have to watch you and your movie suitor go through some mistaken identity issues, miscommunications, weird Christmas magic, and / or pratfalls to get there, even better.

Mistletoe in Montana premieres on Lifetime at 8 p.m. EST on December 17, but for a complete list of what to watch this month, check out our 2021 Christmas movies and TV schedule and guide to the most popular Christmas movies streaming

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.