Ahead of the release of her upcoming Hallmark movie, we spoke with rising multi-hyphenate Jen Lilley about An Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday and her favourite holiday rituals.
For many, one of the highlights of the holiday season is the feel-good films. With the Hallmark Channel leading the charge on the next generation of Christmas classics, these films can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. This Christmas, actress and singer Jen Lilley will be starring in Hallmark’s An Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday — the story of a book editor helping a new writer find her way and harness the Christmas spirit. This marks Jen’s first time back on screen since welcoming her daughter just three months ago. While this is her third child, it is her first biological – she is currently fostering a one-year-old and finalized her adoption of her eldest child just two months before her daughter was born.
In addition to balancing motherhood and movies, Jen is also working on an album, which she hopes will fund a village for children in the foster care system. While An Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday was still in production and she was wrapping up her album, we spoke to Jen about holiday traditions, her balancing act and wanting to be the “Tom’s Shoes of music.”
HOLR: What do we have to look forward to with your upcoming Hallmark movie?
Jen Lilley: All the holiday cheer that everyone expects from a Hallmark movie is definitely in An Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday. There’s witty banter, sleigh rides, snow globes, Christmas parties, and lots of light. It’s everything people expect but it’s got a lot of banter, which I really appreciate.
HOLR: What was it like to film a holiday movie so far ahead of the holiday season?
Jen Lilley: I’m actually still filming it now. It’s amazing how fast Hallmark turns around their films. We’ll be filming through this Sunday, October 28th and it will air December 15th at 9PM on Hallmark Movies. So they have a really tight turnaround. It does make me want to celebrate Christmas early. Before I had kids, I would always put up my Christmas tree by the end of October but now I try to slow down and make sure that I relish every season. But I’m definitely on-board with Hallmark starting their Countdown to Christmas on October 25th – I get it.
HOLR: Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to passing on to your kids?
Jen Lilley: Growing up, we used to be able to open one gift on Christmas Eve so I’ll do exactly what my family did. We would open one gift on Christmas Eve and my dad would read us the Bible story from (the book of) Luke and then we would eat a smorgasbord of cookies that my mom made. We would enjoy movies by the fire and really have a wonderful time. I always loved that so I’ll carry on that tradition with my kids. I’m especially looking forward to Christmas this year because my oldest son is three and he’s finally the age where I can lovingly manipulate him about the naughty and nice list so I’m really excited for that.
HOLR: Between your kids and career, how do you make time for everything?
Jen Lilley: It’s all about balance. I think that everything is about balance. You can do a lot of things on your to-do list and you can wear a lot of hats, as long as when you’re wearing each one, you’re focused on it. When I’m at home with my kids, I’m at home with my kids; I’m not also on Instagram or answering emails or taking phone calls. When I’m at work, I try to stay hyper-focused on work. I was very intimidated to bring my daughter to set for filming. She was eight-weeks old when we started filming so I had no idea how this was going to go at all. But I’ve had a lot of help. My sister is here with me playing nanny, so that’s been fun. I think it comes down to recruiting help and just focusing your energy into whatever you’re doing at the moment.
HOLR: What is your goal with your music?
Jen Lilley: My whole goal with music is to build a children’s village, or a neighbourhood for children in foster care to help protect and heal children who are going through the foster system and hopefully get them into permanent loving homes. So when I found myself pregnant and trying to do music at the same time, I just decided that my fan base would understand if I put off the release of the album for one more year. If i’m trying to do it for children but I’m not prioritizing my own children, then how can you even trust that I’m going to what I say I’m going to do?
You can check out Jen Lilley in An Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday, premiering on Hallmark Movies on December 15th at 9:00 PM.
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