Exclusive

Candace Cameron Bure Shares the Joys and Pressures of Life as the Queen of Christmas

Ahead of the premiere The Christmas Contest, Candace Cameron Bure opened up to E! about the pressure of being the Queen of Christmas and revealed secrets about all ten of her Hallmark movies.

By Tierney Bricker Nov 28, 2021 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Candace Cameron Bure Teases "Fuller House" Reunion in New Rom-Com

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. 

photos
Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas 2021 Schedule Is Here

"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."

Crown Media, E! Illustration

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."

photos
Go Inside the Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas Hotel Suites

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.

 

photos
Breaking Down Hallmark's Roster of Leading Ladies
©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

"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.

Moonlight and Mistletoe (2008)

"I played Tom Arnold's daughter in that. I really enjoyed working with him, but that was my first movie back in from acting in like 10 years because I took a break to raise my kids. I was pretty nervous working on that film. There was the kiss at the end, which is, you know, a super simple Hallmark kiss, but I was so nervous. And I told the actor, 'I have not kissed another man since my wedding day.' And he's like, 'Yeah, but it's fine. It's Hallmark.' But I was quite nervous over the whole thing."

Let It Snow (2013)

"Oh, I just I loved this movie. That was with Alan Thicke. Alan was so wonderful. I loved that movie because he played my dad and obviously played my brother's dad on Growing Pains for so many years. Alan was so beloved. My biggest takeaway from Let It Snow was being with Alan."

Christmas Under Wraps (2014)

"That movie is still the highest-rated Hallmark movie in the history of the channel since it aired. I'm still trying to break that record. Nobody's broken it and I can't even break it. I know how loved that movie was and we filmed that one in Utah. It was great fun."

A Christmas Detour (2015)

"This one was with Paul Greene and then our director was Ron Oliver, whom I loved as well. He's great, fun and directed so many different Hallmark movies. I remember we were really hot. It was in the middle of summer. I try not to shoot my Christmas movies in the middle of summer because you don't want to be all wrapped up in coats and sweaters and it's 90 degrees out. But I just remember the snow blowing and bubbles and the potato stuff that they used for snow like all in my face. Being in that scarf and jacket and coat, and then it was like I had cut off denim shorts on underneath because it was about 90 degrees!"

Journey Back to Christmas (2016)

"I loved this movie. Working with Oliver Hudson was great. He's still one of my favorite people and co-stars because he's crazy in the best of ways. I love him. And I love it. I got to do a period piece and part of that was in the 1940s and to have those costumes and hair. It was definitely a departure for me. And not a traditional character that I played. I borrowed some of my grandma Jean's jewelry that my poppa had given her and I wore it all through the movie. There was a special brooch that I wore and some earrings and a bracelet, and those were my grandmother's. Those were given to her in the '40s from my grandfather. That movie was really special. Probably my grandma's favorite movie of mine."

Switched For Christmas (2017)

"So I loved being able to play twins. That was super fun to do. It was so technical. It was definitely a challenge to be playing two different characters, to run a dialogue with myself and against myself. I love that [daughter] Natasha [Bure] was in this movie. That was a special treat for me as a mom."

A Shoe Addict's Christmas (2018)

"This one aside from the movies that haven't aired yet is my favorite of mine because Jean Smart is just brilliant. She was incredible. And I'm a shoe addict, which is what attracted me to this story. It was based on a book. But working with Jean smart was the highlight. There's a little bit of time travel in the sense of she goes a little Christmas past a little Christmas future. I loved everything about this movie."

Christmas Town (2019)

"This one was a really, heartfelt movie. It had that tone through it through and through. And it was about fostering and adoption. And I love the sweet tone of this whole movie. This one was kind of a last minute one for me that we were trying to find and put together a script for. I was so pleased with it and just thought it was so sweet. It also included some of the work that I do with Salvation Army, which just on a personal level for charity, was also powerful."

If I Only Had Christmas (2020)

"Oh, I just adore this one. This is one my producing partner Jim Head created for me. We came up with this idea because The Wizard of Oz is my all-time favorite movie. And we thought how can we take some of the elements of The Wizard of Oz and put it into a Christmas movie? If you are a fan of that movie, there's a lot of little places where you'll hear some dialogue from The Wizard of Oz. And even all the character names are just a letter or two off or have similar consonants in the names. The characters are similar as far as like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Lion, and then the Wizard and the Witch as well. You have to look for it, it's not in your face, but if you do know that movie, you'll see it all in there. I adored working with Warren Christie, he was fabulous. Also, it just made me giddy to think that I was kind of like Dorothy."

The Christmas Contest (2021)

"The highlight for sure is working with John Brotherton. We play these exes that are competing in the same Christmas contest. So there's lots of fun character moments in there and we got to do a little more comedy in this movie than we traditionally would in a Hallmark movie. Doing that with John was a highlight just because of our sitcom route. We balanced the comedy out at the end because there's a lot of heartfelt moments in this one as well. So again, I adored this movie. For me, it's the one that I would actually want to do a sequel to.

While we were developing this script, I knew the entire time as we were fleshing out the characters that John needed to be my co-star. And John is not Canadian, so that actually posed some issues but we worked it out. But I just knew how much fun it would be for Fuller House fans to have Matt and DJ be reunited. But I also knew that because we have so much TV history over working together for the past five seasons and what our characters went through on Fuller House that it was the perfect subtext for these characters on The Christmas Contest. And I thought, 'Oh, this is perfect.'"

The Christmas Contest airs Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel. 

Reporting by Meriam Bouarrouj

 

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.