You love seeing your favorite stars on the big screen, right? You may have forgotten, however, that some of Hollywood’s biggest talents also starred on the small screen in made-for-TV Christmas movies. Well, here’s a trip down memory lane…
Mark Ruffalo in On the 2nd Day of Christmas, Lifetime, 1997
Before Mark Ruffalo saved the world from supervillains as the Incredible Hulk, he saved Christmas as the very cute, very lovable police academy dropout named Bert. On Christmas Eve, Bert agrees to look after pickpocketer Trish and her 6-year-old niece, Patsy. Bert falls in love with Trish just in time to prevent her from going to jail — and Patsy from going into foster care.
The film is your typical Christmas romance: It’s campy in all the right places with that feel-good ending you crave around the holidays. Plus, a young Mark Ruffalo sweet-talking his lady friend by the fire will warm you right up!
Carrie Fisher in It’s Christmas, Carol! Hallmark, 2012
Carrie Fisher was a huge star long before starring in a Christmas movie, which makes her role that much more surprising. In the Charles Dickens-esque story, Fisher plays the ghost of Christmas past, named Eve, who comes back to lovingly haunt her former employee, Carol.
With Eve’s help, Carol learns that the true meaning of life isn’t all about work, but about finding love and happiness. Fisher’s role in this upbeat comedy also happens to be one of her final projects, making the film even sweeter.
Bryan Cranston in ’Twas the Night, the Disney Channel, 2001
Years before Bryan Cranston became one of the most acclaimed actors of this decade, he was the wisecracking dad in the family-friendly show Malcom in the Middle. Doing a Christmas movie for the Disney Channel was right on brand at the time.
In’Twas the Night, Cranston is irresponsible Uncle Nick, who steals Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve with his 14-year-old nephew, Danny. Nick then robs the neighbors’ homes of all their presents. He soon realizes the error of his ways and returns Santa’s sleigh just in time to save Christmas.
Sarah Paulson, A Christmas Wedding, Lifetime, 2006
The only screaming for Sarah Paulson in this flick is screams of excitement over a Christmas wedding; no ghosts this time. In 2006, Paulson played Emily, a perfectionist bride who is determined to get married on Christmas Day, yet gets called away to work. She reluctantly leaves the planning to her fiancé, Ben.
When a snowstorm threatens to keep Emily from her own wedding day, she realizes that big parties don’t compare to being home with loved ones for the holidays. And yes, they lived happily ever after.
Laura Dern, A Season for Miracles, Hallmark 1999
Laura Dern wasn’t always the good mother she currently plays on Big Little Lies. Back in 1999, she was the worst mother imaginable. Berry was a drug addict who was sent to prison just days before Christmas. She left her two young children in the hands of her sister, Emilie.
Luckily, the bleak plot has a happy ending — as all Christmas movies should. With the help of love and an angel, Emilie is able to get full custody of Berry’s kids, just in time to celebrate the holidays together.
Watch: Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton highlight star-studded Christmas special:
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