Soap opera fans are in for the happiest of holidays this year, with over 30 Christmas films featuring daytime stars set to air throughout the winter season. One of the biggies on the festive list is Open by Christmas, a heartwarming Hallmark film that stars Days of our Lives' Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady).
The actress dropped by the Today Show this morning to discuss the holiday movie, which stars Sweeney as a woman who finds an unopened Christmas card from a high school secret admirer and sets out with her best friend (Erica Durance) to find and thank the anonymous author. It's set to air on Friday, November 12, and the actress teases that the film is extra special because it's not just about romance -- it's also about the magic of friendship.
"The spirit of Christmas is watching these movies and getting into it and enjoying it, but I I found that for me this year, I was able to incorporate a new element to the story in that my character's best friend, Simone, she's my co-star in the movie, and we each have our own romantic story that you've of course come to know and love [in Hallmark films], but we're best friends, and I think best friends are a big part of the holidays, too."
There are many friendship moments in Open by Christmas, and Sweeney says a lot of them were inspired by her own relationship with her gal pals.
"I said to all my friends, 'You're going to see a little hint of [us] when they get together and they have a glass of wine and they're talking about their problems or they have to call each other [about] the mistake they're making in their relationship,'" she says. "Some of those scenes felt really real, and I think women are really going to respond to that when they watch the movie. It's got a whole lot of fun in it."
Sweeney pulled double duty on Open by Christmas, because not only did she star in the film, but she also served as its executive producer. She admits that wearing both hats was difficult -- especially when it came to critiquing her own performance.
"Executive producer Alison has had to have firm talks and tough conversations with actress Alison," she says with a laugh. "'It doesn't matter, you were fine, we're moving on. They'll fix it in post, Alison!'"
In addition to opening up about her Hallmark film, Sweeney shared a fun surprise about Days of our Lives: she'll be on-screen as Sami Brady later this month!
"Sami Brady is returning to Salem soon -- I believe in the next week or so, you're going to see her face. You'll see her shining face, maybe happy, maybe not so happy," she says with a laugh. "I can remind the audience that when last you saw me leaving Salem, the storyline was that her husband was mad at her and she was determined not to let him get a divorce, and then, out of nowhere, a gloved hand with a cloth [covered] her face and pulled her out of the screen. That was the last thing you saw... until now!"
Just before Sweeney's feisty alter ego was kidnapped during the Wednesday, August 11, episode, the actress teased that it definitely wouldn't be the last that DAYS fans would see of Sami and that her upcoming storyline will be super entertaining. "Every time I talk to Ron [Carlivati, head writer], we have a hilarious, great conversation," she shared, "He has fun ideas for this character, and I enjoy playing them."
Check out Sweeney's full Today Show clip below and let us know what you think about her new Hallmark film and her upcoming return to DAYS in the Comments section at the end of the article.
Are you excited to learn that Alison Sweeney will be returning to DAYS this month? What do you think the soap's writers have in store for her return? Will you be tuning in to watch the actress in her Hallmark holiday film, Open by Christmas? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.