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Hallmark’s ‘Bubbly Sesh’ podcasters: ‘It was like we were in our very own Hallmark movie’

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Kristen Chenoweth in a scene from the Hallmark Channel movie “A Christmas Love Story.”

Crown Media United States LLC

SALT LAKE CITY — This year marks the end of a full decade of holiday magic courtesy of Hallmark Channel. The network known for its family values and warm fuzzy Christmas movies is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its popular “Countdown to Christmas” lineup with 40 new movies.

Technically, the movies got underway almost a week before trick-or-treaters made their way to your doorstep. But for those who haven’t paid attention, there are still about 20 new Christmas movies heading your way.

Here to act as your Christmas movie guides are Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook — or “Jacks” and “Shawl” — hosts of the popular Hallmark-focused “Bubbly Sesh” podcast. A year after the duo started covering Hallmark movies, they got a crazy idea.

“We emailed Bill Abbott, the CEO of Crown Media (the Hallmark Channel’s parent company),” they duo said in an email exchange with the blog From the Desk of Kurt Manwaring.

To their surprise, Abbott agreed to a meeting. He was so impressed with their enthusiasm that he invited them to tell their story to “a few people from the sales team.” 

“We followed him down the hallway, expecting to be brought into a room with a handful of people,” they said. “What we didn’t know is that Crown Media was having a huge sales meeting with the employees from multiple locations.”

They shared their story again in typical “bubbly” fashion and were met with applause.

“They clapped!” the duo said. “We couldn’t believe it. It was like we were in our very own Hallmark movie.”

Two months later, they became the official podcast of the Hallmark Channel.

This season, they are covering all 40 movies on the Countdown to Christmas calendar. 

If 40 seems like a lot, it is — although it pales in comparison to the 232 Christmas movies Hallmark will have under its belt by the year’s end. But the movies get produced for a reason. 

“I just learned this Danish word, ‘hygge,’ which means coziness,” Collier said. “Hallmark definitely evokes those feelings for me and for so many other people. You just want to cozy up with a pair of comfy socks, grab some hot cocoa and relax.” 

Regular fans have the same kinds of feelings.

“The holidays can be stressful, but you know when you watch a Hallmark Christmas movie everything is going to be okay in the end,” said Rachel Wimberly.

“Hallmark Christmas movies bring happiness and joy the moment I turn one on,” said Ann Scott. “They help me escape into their happy world!” 

Among the actors populating Hallmark’s “happy world” this year are Dolly Parton, who stars in “Christmas at Dollywood”; Candace Cameron Bure in “Christmas Town”; and Kristin Chenoweth, who will grace the screen in “A Christmas Love Story.”

“(That) seems like one that I’m really going to enjoy,” Manjunath-Holbrook said. 

“Our recap of each movie will drop the day after the movie premieres,” the podcast pair said. “So watch the movie, and then log onto your podcast app ... to listen to us chat about it. Or even better, subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.”

Hallmark Channel’s “Bubbly Sesh” podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox, iHeartRADIO, and Spotify.