Amy Smart is a big fan of Christmas, so she was happy to sign on for ABC Family’s “12 Dates of Christmas,” which will premiere this Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. as part of ABC Family’s 12th annual “25 Days of Christmas.”
“I like the music, I like the feeling, I like celebrating, I like Christmas parties and that kind of thing,” says the former model, who will be celebrating the holiday this year in Traverse City, MI with her family.
In this newest of Christmas movies, Smart plays Kate — a woman with a plan who learns that just because she wants something, it doesn’t mean it’s right for her. In “Ground Hog”-fashion, she has to relive Christmas Eve over and over again until she gets it right — not just for her but for those around her.
“12 Dates of Christmas” also stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Miles, the blind date she keep ruining in her determination to win back her ex-boyfriend Jack (Benjamin Ayers), who has moved on and has a new love, on Christmas Eve. But, in an odd twist of fate, Kate is given the chance to relive Christmas Eve 12 times in order to not miss out on her destiny: true love!
Now, Smart talks to us about lessons to be learned from this holiday family flick, her Christmas traditions and Santa Claus.
With all the Christmas movies out there, why did you want to get this one made?
I really like this story of Kate and her journey. She works really hard and she is set on getting her ex-boyfriend back, but she has tunnel vision in her life. I like that she gets to relive Christmas Eve 12 times in order to see her life in a new perspective. It was really fun with all the comedy involved and she is able to slow down enough to try to fix her life and surrender to the bigger picture. Through that, she finds the person she is supposed to be with.
The movie very much reminded me of Groundhog Day. Do you think the most important thing about it for people to take away is that there are lessons to be learned?
There are so many lessons. It is really easy to get stuck in the same way of being in your life and to not get out of that box. I think when we finally slow down and we sort of take inventory of our life and see what we really want, there are a lot of lessons that can bring us to the next stage and it can be better than we expected.
How was Mark-Paul Gosselaar as a boyfriend?
Mark-Paul was great. He is so much fun to work with. He is the nicest person and we just played. We had a great time learning how to ice skate and all the wintery things we did outside.
Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
I have to say, I like “Christmas Vacation.” I think it is so funny. I am a huge fan of comedy, so that to me is a fun, get-you-in-the mood film.
How do you spend the holidays?
My parents moved to Traverse City, MI about 10 years ago permanently from Los Angeles, so I have been going there. It just so happens that my husband is from Traverse City, so now we have a house there as well. We spend Christmas time there.
Are you big on decorations?
I am. I love it. I get that from my mother because as soon as Thanksgiving is done, she has all the decorations up and she is making all the spiced nuts and trail mix-type of holiday foods. I definitely take after her.
When did you stop believing in Santa Claus … or did you?
I did believe in Santa for quite some time. I always thought I saw Rudolph. The night before, I thought I saw a red flash in the sky. It is funny as kids what you really can imagine when you believe in something and the spirit of Santa lives on.
Any tips for a green [eco] Christmas?
Definitely, the gift-giving aspect of it: There is so much excess with presents, wrapping paper and things, so I would say be conscious of what you are giving, or you can donate to your favorite charity instead. I would say when you are holiday shopping for food, err on the side of buying organic and use reusable bags as much as you can. You can buy a live tree instead of cutting one down. There are all these different things you can do to have a green Christmas. Also, going to vintage store and finding decorations there or giving gifts from vintage stores is a great way to reuse.
Your best and worst gifts you’ve received?
The best Christmas gift … probably when I was younger, getting a new bike. That was so exciting to have a new bike and ride it up and down the street. I just enjoy spending the holidays with my family and celebrating. It is not as much about what I am going to get. It is fun to get gifts, I am not going to lie, but probably when I was younger I was more excited about that.
Why should people watch the movie?
I think because it is from ABC Family, it is set up for families to sit around and watch it and think about their own lives and find hope. It is a romantic comedy about love and all the mistakes you make along the way, so I think people will really enjoy it.
One of the things I did enjoy about it was that because you had the 12 dates, you were always changing your wardrobe and there was some fun fashion in there.
And there is a lot of fantasy that goes along with living something over 12 times and the things you can do differently. We all want to relive something in our lives, so it is fun watching a character figure that out.