Freeform knows how to do Christmas right. So who better to ask about their holiday musts than the stars of the network’s original Christmas movies?
Looking for answers to our burning Christmas questions for our Countdown to Tinseltown, we grilled Tyra Banks and Francia Raisa (Life-Size 2), Dave and Odette Annable (No Sleep ’Til Christmas),and Kali Hawk and Damon Dayoub (The Truth About Christmas).
First of all, we know what you’re wondering: What is the truth about Christmas? “The truth about Christmas is that nobody knows how to do the holidays,” says Hawk, who stars in the movie as a political consultant who is cursed (or is she blessed?) by a mall Santa so that she’s unable to tell a lie. “You have all these ideas about how you should do the holidays, how you should give the best gift, how long to wear the pajamas that someone gave you for Christmas that you did not like…”
“The truth about Christmas is that Kali is very funny,” Dayoub offers. “She’s a very funny person, and that’s the truth. It’s the truth about Christmas!”
The No Sleep ’Til Christmas stars — who are married in real life and play a pair of insomniac strangers who discover they can only fall asleep when they’re lying next to each other — are similarly appreciative of each other’s talents, but also cognizant of where they lack. “We’ve always had a battle of who’s worse [at singing], and thankfully this movie just ended that discussion,” Dave says, alluding to a drunk-karaoke scene in the film.
“We had a singing coach come in, and she started giving us tips,” Odette says, defending herself. “I start singing, and I must have hit a really good note, and she was like, ‘Honey, you can sing!’ And I was like, ‘I can!’ So I was overconfident and I was belting it out, so when I saw that scene, I was like, ay-ay-ay.”
There’s also a musical interlude in Life-Size 2, a sequel to the beloved 2000 film in which fashion doll Eve (Banks) grows to life-size to help a young girl. “I honestly am not the biggest fan of the original song,” Banks admits, referring to “Be a Star,” Eve’s girl-powered anthem. “It’s so crazy!” says Raisa, a longtime fan. “And the dance!”
“I definitely know that it’s a big part of Life-Size,” Banks concedes. “I was like, I don’t get it, but okay. We will do it. And then I was like, you know what, let’s bring it into 2018. Let’s make it a little gutter. We were very inspired by trap, and you see ‘Be a Star’ 2.0!” Surely, an instant holiday classic.
Speaking of classics, here’s what the stars had to say about their Christmas musts:
What is the most essential element of a Christmas movie?
Odette Annable: A lot of love, a lot of laughs, some snow, a little hot chocolate… and a good backdrop! I like a nice city Christmas movie. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf…
Dave Annable: A good message, something that makes you feel good after. And a good Christmas soundtrack.
Tyra Banks: Something that makes you want to watch it over and over and over, every single year. Where every year, the whole family comes over, and you guys have seen it seven times, and this year it’s gonna be eight. That is essential. And there’s so many things that go into that, that make you want to repeat something.
Kali Hawk: Romance! Because everybody loves love, everybody loves to fall in love and be in love and see people in love, and I just love it.
Damon Dayoub: Santa Claus. Love? She’s a hopeless romantic. Gotta have Santa Claus.
Kali Hawk: I guess. I could do without Santa Claus, but I couldn’t do without love.
What is the most annoying Christmas song?
Kali Hawk: “Dominic the Donkey.” Everytime I hear that song, I’m like, “Who thought of this? The Italian Christmas donkey? Who came up with this?” I know a lot of Italian people; they don’t have a Christmas donkey.
Odette Annable: [singing] Feliz Navidad…
Dave Annable: Don’t sing, babe, they believe you! Don’t sing! A star is not born today!
Annoying or not, at what time is it appropriate to start listening to Christmas music?
Francia Raisa: I don’t listen to Christmas music, personally. But after Thanksgiving.
Tyra Banks: I think it’s after Thanksgiving. I’m very confused when I hear it, like, Nov. 5. I don’t mind a couple of Halloween songs that are kind of tapering off, but they’re jumping in front of Thanksgiving. It’s like, come on, can we at least just have a gourd and some turkey before we start talking about Christmas?
Kali Hawk: Now. Nov. 7.
Damon Dayoub: No way. You have to wait until after Thanksgiving.
Kali Hawk: Who says you have to do anything?
Damon Dayoub: I believe Sirius XM, because they don’t even start the station until after Thanksgiving.
Kali Hawk: All the time is Christmas for me. I’m excited about it. Frank Sinatra could sing Christmas music all year long and it would feel perfectly normal. All those crooners. And I love Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Didn’t you shoot in the summer?
Kali Hawk: Christmas in July, literally.
Damon Dayoub: [It was] sweaty, man. It was hot. You’re wearing like four layers, and the poor makeup people, they’re just constantly trying to blot out your sweat.
Francia Raisa: It was hot. Very hot. Because we have to pretend it’s cold outside, and it’s really funny when it’s blazing-hot and we have leather jackets on or mink coats on.
Tyra Banks: And just sweat all up under the clothes. At the end of the day when we’d have to take our clothes off and give them back to the wardrobe department, I’d be like, “I am so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Odette Annable: It was summer in Toronto, which I prefer, to be honest, because Toronto can get cold.
Dave Annable: But they were having a heat wave, and we’re wearing big parkas and jackets. Zero working out required for us in there, because we sweat off everything.
If you had the power of Christmas at your fingertips, what would you use it for?
Tyra Banks: If I could cast a spell with Christmas magic it would be… Everybody doesn’t believe or agree on anything, but this holiday season let’s all sit at that table and not talk about any of the things we disagree about, and just love and grub together.