Hallmark has released its first-ever Christmas romance film featuring a gay couple in the lead.
Joining Lifetime, which also announced its first-ever holiday film, The Christmas Setup, the festive card company released The Christmas House on Nov. 22 (and is set to re-air on Thanksgiving Day), starring Mean Girls‘ Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder.
The Hallmark Channel featured its first same-sex wedding earlier this year, in the film Wedding Every Weekend, which debuted in August.
The Christmas House follows Brandon Mitchell (played by Mean Girls’ Jonathan Bennett) and his husband Jake’s (Brad Harder) return home for the holidays. As they attempt to bring the family to together to recreate the Christmas house, Brandon and his husband, Jake, anxiously await a call about the adoption of their first child, the film description on the Hallmark Channel’s website states.
In an interview with NBC News, Bennett said: “I’m proud of everyone at Hallmark Channel for making the holiday table bigger and more welcoming and warmer this year.
“What I love about the characters in the movie is that we aren’t caricatures or stereotypes. We are two loving, stable, kind men who are in love and want to start a family of our own.”
“Representation is so important, and to represent this storyline on Hallmark Channel, it’s an honor to make a little history,” Bennett told Entertainment Tonight this week.
Bennett said that he would have been excited to see a film such as The Christmas House when he was younger. “I can only imagine what younger me would have thought seeing a Christmas movie with a storyline like this; two men in love, having a baby together. I think I would have been so excited, and I know I’m excited.”
Adopting is something Bennett and his partner, Jaymes Vaughan, have spoken about, too.
“We’re thinking about that for sure, especially shooting this movie it really spoke to me,” he said. “It’s almost like life imitates art.
“I am so proud of Hallmark Channel and everyone there for doing what they did this year, which was taking the holiday table and making it bigger and more welcoming than ever,” Bennett said. “I think so many people are gonna feel seen and so many people are gonna feel like they belong in the Hallmark family — and they do. It’s gonna be a really special year for so many people.”
In a separate promotional clip for the Hallmark film, Bennett said that what he’s most looking forward to this Christmas is spending time with his family.
“Family is the most important thing in the world to me,” he said, adding that some of the scenes from the new movie even inspired him to call his family. “I really hope this movie inspires people to come together with their families and surround each other with unconditional love,” he said.
The Christmas House will re-air on Nov. 26 at 10/9c on Hallmark. Check your local listings.