Heavy is the head that wears the holiday crown.
Ten movies in, Candace Cameron Bure still feels the pressure to deliver as the shining star of Hallmark Channel's popular Countdown to Christmas programming event. Since 2013 , a new film starring Candace, a.k.a. the Queen of Christmas, as the network itself will proudly tell you, premieres the Sunday of Thanksgiving week. And, year after year, that becomes Hallmark's highest rated movie.
So yeah, the pressure is on for The Christmas Contest, her 2021 outing that reunites Candace with her Fuller House co-star John Brotherton, to deliver, both for the network and her loyal fanbase.
"I want to produce a great film that people are going to love and want to watch over and over again and look forward to it every Christmas season," Candace recently told E! News while promoting her new Hallmark holiday gift collection, which includes home décor, kitchen accessories and stationery designed by the star.
"And at the same time, this being my 10th Christmas movie for the Hallmark Channel, you do try to make them as different as you can, while still staying in the framework of a Hallmark movie," she continued. "So there's always pressure to not have a repeat story; the repeat beats, the same tropes that you can fall into with a Hallmark film. There's pressure, but I'm very aware of what those elements are and try my best to make it fresh and new every year."
To keep her slate exciting and enticing, Candace has helped develop the story for most of her Christmas movies, explaining she's involved in "every single aspect" of them, which fans may not realize.
"I take great pride and joy in my movies and in showing them to the viewers and hope that they love them," she said. "But it's not just me being a hired actor by Hallmark coming into these; it's a much bigger process for me than that, so that's why I do have a lot of pride in creating the best product I can."
Candace has become synonymous with the Hallmark Channel itself, its most popular star among a stacked roster of talent that includes Lacey Chabert, Nikki Deloach and Danica McKellar (though the latter recently signed a multi-picture deal with GAC, a new network started by former Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott). And it was the fostering of family that keeps Candace coming back to the network. (Her 2017 movie Switched For Christmas even co-starred an actual member of her family: daughter Natasha Bure.)
"I don't know any other network that I've worked with [where] I've ever had such camaraderie with the other actors or shows that are on it," she explained. "Whereas the Hallmark Channel all of us encourage one another, the producers and actors. Hallmark doesn't ask us to promote one another's movies. But we do that as actors, because we are all genuinely happy and grateful to be a part of family entertainment, and we care about our audience."
And that viewership is a loyal one, with the Hallmark Channel consistently ranking as the highest rated cable network in the fourth quarter thanks to its Countdown to Christmas event.
With more competition than ever—Netflix, Lifetime and other networks are now mass-producing their own holiday movies, staging the ultimate seasonal showdown—Hallmark has remained the go-to destination for feel-good Christmas content.
"You know what you're going to get in in a Hallmark movie. And I think that's part of the attraction," Candace explained. "Some people say, 'Oh, it's the same people and it's the same story and it's specific girl falls in love with the small town boy,' but the point is, those stories make you connect, they make you feel good."
Kind of like curling up in a cozy winter blanket. "Over the years, of course, those stories have grown but there's always the predictability of them," she continued, "knowing that you're going to find a relationship, whether that's through love or friendship or family, and then it's always going to be a happy ending and positive, and it's gonna make you feel good. Hallmark has been very consistent in delivering those movies and not straying far from that path. There's a consistency with Hallmark. And I think that's why it's been trusted for so many years."
And it's why Candace designed a holiday collection with Hallmark that represented her values—think devotionals, tea towels that read "Joy in Jesus" and a charcuterie board embellished with a Scripture quote—after working with Dayspring, its sister company, for several years.
"My faith is all encompassing. It's part of who I am, so I've loved being able to produce these products for people in their home as well," Candace said. "My hope is always that these products will help people connect their time together with Christmas but really focus on the reason for the season."
In honor of her 10th outing The Christmas Contest, debuting Nov. 28, Candace looked back on all of her Hallmark Christmas movies to share her favorite memories about the making of each one.
The Christmas Contest airs Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
Reporting by Meriam Bouarrouj