Hallmark Channel Christmas movies are a yearly staple for millions across the U.S. But it doesn’t take an expert to know they’re not great when it comes to representation. For over two decades, they’ve consistently focused on white, straight, Christian families and couples. Yet with times changing, more and more people are pushing to see families like their get their time to shine. And with this year’s lineup, that’s finally about to happen for many different groups. Along with a very diverse lineup, including films for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Chinese Americans, we’re also getting our first ever LGBTQ-focused Hallmark holiday movie.
Jonathan Bennett is The Holiday Sitter
The Holiday Sitter stars Jonathan Bennett and George Krissa as the main couple. And according to the official logline, the start of their relationship couldn’t be more wholesome.
Sam (Bennett) is a workaholic bachelor who babysits his niece and nephew before the holidays when his sister and her husband have to go out of town. Completely out of his element, he recruits help from their handsome neighbor Jason (Krissa) and finds himself in an unexpected romance.
Most audiences might know Bennett from his role as Aaron Samuels in the 2004 comedy Mean Girls. Yet holiday lovers know he’s been a Hallmark regular for years, starring in plenty of TV movies such as Elevator Girl and The Christmas House. Bennett is also a Christmas Con regular, as seen in the Event Tree Lighting photo in the header image.
George Krissa, on the other hand, has done mostly regional musical theatre across the country, starring in productions of West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show, and White Christmas. Though he has made some TV guest appearances on shows such as Close Encounters and Murdoch Mysteries. Joining them as Sam’s sister is Chelsea Hobbs, who’s best known for her role as Emily Kmetko in ABC’s teen drama Make It or Break It. This is her first ever holiday film.
Hallmark Continues to Expand Their LGBTQ Storylines
This isn’t the first ever Hallmark film to feature a same-sex couple — that honor goes to 2020’s The Christmas House. In fact, Bennett portrayed one half of this couple alongside Brad Harder. The ensemble cast centers around an older couple and their two adult sons, who come home for Christmas to recreate an old family tradition. Bennett played son Brandon, a baker who’s happily married to his husband Jake and looking to adopt a child.
Until fairly recently, most LGBTQ representations have fallen into some very narrow categories. Most media relies on long-standing stereotypes and hyper-sexualization that’s played for laughs. And even when they’re portrayed as normal and in love, things often end tragically — i.e. the ‘bury your gays’ trope. So when The Christmas House premiered, it was incredibly refreshing to see a sweet and happy same-sex couple just living their life. And the fact that their family members totally embrace them is even better. That’s why audiences were so delighted that they got to see even more of Brandon and Jake in last year’s sequel The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls.
No matter who you love or what you believe, the holidays are a time for everyone to come together, celebrate, and be happy. And considering how big this company is, it’s wonderful to see Hallmark now fully embracing everyone’s differences.
The Holiday Sitter will debut on December 11, 2022 at 8PM Eastern Time on Hallmark Channel.