Jen Lilley to host Great American Christmas in July celebration on GAC Family
GAC Family kicks off first annual Christmas in July event
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in July as GAC Family announces its first annual Great American Christmas in July celebration. GAC Family star Jen Lilley is set to kick things off with a special preview of the fledgling network’s Christmas in July programming along with a sneak peek at what’s in store for holiday movie fans this holiday season.
The fun begins over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. Lilley’s preview show airs Saturday, July 2, ushering in 24/7 holiday movies all weekend long. Movies include all 12 of the network’s original Christmas movies that premiered on GAC Family during the Great American Christmas 2021 event last year.
A sampling of the movies set to air during the Great American Christmas in July celebration includes Lilley’s Royally Wrapped for Christmas, A Kindhearted Christmas with Beverly Hills, 90210’s Jennie Garth and General Hospital’s Cameron Mathison, Angel Falls Christmas with Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) and Jingle Bell Princess with Trevor Donovan (90210) and Merritt Patterson (The Royals).
If you’re a longtime fan of Christmas movies then some of those names might look familiar. Many of the GAC Family stars also appear in Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Former Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott left the network to form his own media company, GAC Family and he struck multi-picture deals with several Hallmark stars, including Lilley, to exclusively appear in original movies for his network.
Now heading into its second year of Christmas programming, GAC Family is clearly eyeing a bigger serving of the Christmas movie pie as it enters the Christmas in July sphere. Great American Christmas 2022 will kick off on Friday, October 28, with new original holiday movies debuting each week throughout the holiday season.
Lilley is the co-founder of Christmas Is Not Cancelled, a charity that uses the holiday spirit to raise money for kids in the foster care system. The summer arm of the fundraiser, Camp Christmas in July, will raise funds to provide backpacks full of school supplies to foster youth. Virtual programming includes summer camp-inspired activities to build community among fans and features guest appearances from GAC Family and Hallmark Channel stars.
There’s no question that there’s a huge demand for Christmas movies. Stalwart Hallmark Channel dominated fourth quarter primetime ratings in 2021 and as a network they finished in 10th place in overall views for the year, beating out networks like TBS and Bravo. It’s no wonder that more and more Christmas programming is being developed by networks and streaming services to lock in viewers looking for holiday cheer.
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Sarabeth joined the Watch to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.