Twinkling lights, gingerbread houses, small town romances, and... shiplap? The traditional trappings of the TV Christmas movie are getting a renovation courtesy of HGTV this year. On Aug. 17, Discovery+ announced HGTV will release its first two holiday movies ever in November, while Food Network will seek to capitalize on the success of last year’s Candy Coated Christmas starring The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, by debuting two new Christmas films featuring some of the network’s biggest stars.
All four of the movies will be available exclusively through Discovery+ on Nov. 11, and if you’re a fan of HGTV and Food Network, they’ll be automatic must-sees. The HGTV holiday movies will feature cameos by Home Town stars Ben and Erin Napier and Love It or List It’s Hilary Farr, respectively. Meanwhile, the Food Network projects will include appearances from Bobby Flay and Duff Goldman.
“As we developed the scripts for all four projects, there were some very obvious story details and plot lines that helped inform who would best fit for each title,” Kathleen Finch, chairman and chief content officer of US Networks Group at Warner Bros. Discovery told Variety. “Ben and Erin Napier told us how much they love Christmas and Christmas movies, and how excited they would be to participate, so we developed an opportunity for them. Long before HGTV fans met Hilary Farr, she was an actress, so stars aligned for her to return to something she loves.”
In addition to featuring HGTV and Food Network celebrities, the four holiday movies will also include home renovation and culinary-based stories alongside the festive romances fans of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies have come to expect. Keep reading for all the festive details, including who will star in HGTV’s first official holiday flicks.
A Christmas Open House
In A Christmas Open House, The Bold Type’s Katie Stevens plays Atlanta-based property stager Melissa Norwood, who teams up with her old high school crush David Phelps (Victor Rasuk) to sell her mom’s house in her small hometown. The two end up working around the clock to update the house before a pair of potential buyers view it on Christmas Eve.
During the renovation process, Melissa reaches out to married couple Henry and Sarah Wright (played by Home Town’s Ben and Erin) to create a few custom items for the house. Henry is a master woodworker — just like Ben! — while Sarah is an artist and designer, like Erin in real life.
Along the way, Melissa and David fall for each other. But their romance is dampened by Melissa’s desire to start her own business in Atlanta and David’s love for their picturesque hometown.
Designing Christmas features Jessica Szohr and Marco Grazzini as Stella and Pablo, the co-hosts of a home renovation show called House Sweet Home. The duo’s onscreen chemistry has made their show a hit, even though they’re not a couple in real life. In fact, Stella is engaged to someone else.
However, when the owners of the home set to be featured in their holiday special pull out at the last minute, Stella and Pablo will be forced to face their feelings as they work together to renovate Stella’s family’s Victorian home instead. With her wedding approaching quickly and her attraction to Pablo continuing to grow, she’ll turn to her mentor Freddy, played by Love It or List It’s Farr, for advice.
A Gingerbread Christmas
Food and Christmas always make for a perfect holiday movie pairing, so A Gingerbread Christmas sounds like a recipe for success. When her career plan derails, Hazel Stanley (Tiya Sircar) heads home to help her father with his struggling bakery. Once there, she decides to enter a gingerbread baking competition hosted by local celebrity Mark Clemmons (Food Network star Goldman) to win enough money to save her family’s business.
Along the way, she falls for single dad/contractor James Meadows (Marc Bendavid), who has been helping her father out in his spare time. As Christmas approaches, James and Hazel grow closer even as misunderstandings keep them apart.
One Delicious Christmas
Gilmore Girls and Switched at Birth star Vanessa Marano plays Abby Richmond, who inherited the foodie destination Haven Restaurant and Inn from her parents. Running the inn and restaurant is Abby’s whole life, so when a famous food critic (Flay) tears her family’s menu apart, an investor forces her to bring in a new chef, Preston Weaver (Alex Mallari, Jr).
When Preston begins changing the menu, he and Abby clash — but as they work together to create a holiday dinner that will wow the investors the business so desperately needs, sparks begin to fly between the chef and the restaurant owner.
All four of HGTV and Food Network’s holiday movies will be available exclusively on Discovery+ starting Nov. 11.