It's kind of unfair to ask The Young and the Restless' Lauralee Bell (Christine Blair) about holiday memories, because she's had so many over the years -- more than double that of most people. It's not because she has super ninja memory skills; it's because she has her real-life memories, as well as countless memories from the shows that her parents, William Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, created. The talented pair were the brainchildren behind The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, and Lauralee has soaked up a lot of on-screen and backstage holiday moments from those shows, as well.
However, despite it being slightly unfair to ask her to pick some favorite Christmas moments, Soap Central went ahead and did it, anyway. Luckily, she was a good sport and was ready to delve in with quite a few -- nearly enough to fill Santa's sleigh!
Soap Central: Have you been feeling in the holiday spirit this year?
Lauralee Bell: I have! Unfortunately, our Y&R party got canceled because of COVID, and that's something that we all really look forward to. The actors put up the money for an open bar for the crew, and it's just a nice time to get together and be in a silly photo booth and things like that. So, it was unfortunate that that was canceled. But other than that, yes, our daughter is at college and will be coming home, which makes me so happy, because we used to always all be together, and now I have to wait for the holidays. So, for that reason, I'm very excited. Honestly, I think [Christmas] lights should be up all year long! It's just so festive and pretty. But I'm very behind [on my shopping]! Luckily, I have older children now, and I said to them, "This year, can we just skip the presents and just do stockings and have a great dinner?" And thankfully, they seem to be on board. I don't know if on Christmas morning they'll still act like kids, though, and say, "Wait a minute -- where are the presents? We thought you were kidding!" [Laughs]
Soap Central: What is a typical Christmas like in the Bell household?
Bell: It changes all the time. We are usually in Colorado, and it used to be both of my brothers were there as well. Now, one doesn't go, so we will see if Brad [executive producer and head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful] and his family will go. We usually do Christmas Eve with them, and we're going to do something a few days later this year. But for us, we always have two or three dogs, so it's early morning and pajamas; we use Christmas as a [lazy day], and we never get out of sweats! Except maybe if we go skiing... And I know this sounds very strange, but I really love snowmen, and I turn making them into an athletic activity; I try to find a little place in the yard or in a park nearby and make a snowman. I usually drag my daughter into it, or [the kids] come into it when I'm on the last part of it, when I'm putting on the eyes and nose! So, it's super simple -- no crazy traditions. When we were younger, we were just always with our parents and things like that, and now, life moves on, and our son is going to have a couple of friends there, and cousins will be there, so it will be nice.
Soap Central: I know you mentioned you don't have traditions, per se, but is there anything from your parents that you've passed on and do with your kids?
Bell: I have some of their ornaments that were on our trees every single year. I pull them out, and they're these sort of old-looking ornaments that have everybody's pictures on them growing up. They're fun to spin around, especially with the boys, in the 70s, with their very shaggy, long hair and glasses and plaid suits. [Laughs] They're fun to look at, and we joke about it. As for [when we were younger], my dad would be up all night, trying to make toys, and he would say the instructions weren't even in English, so he couldn't really follow them, and he was trying to make pinball machines and things like that in the middle of the night. [Laughs] By the morning, they were just exhausted, and I think we've carried on the tradition of Christmas being a lazy day. If there's any church-going or any get-togethers, it's usually on Christmas Eve.
Soap Central: You are a very busy family, and always have been, so I can understand that you'd need a day to just take it easy!
Bell: I always make quiche, though. I don't know if that's a tradition, but I'm always up very early making quiche. The kids always know there will always be a quiche. My uncle always sends us a ham, and I get so excited because one quiche a year is not turkey bacon -- it's this beautiful ham that he sends us, so that's a nice tradition, as well.
Soap Central: Are there any traditions from growing up that you haven't really kept that you still think about?
Bell: Our holiday cards growing up were always "The Bells are Ringing, Wishing You the Happiest of Holidays." I think about that every year when we're figuring out holiday cards. We were very much routine -- everything was very much the same forever, which is a comforting thing sometimes.
Soap Central: Are there any Genoa City holiday traditions that you especially love, or Christmas episodes that hold a special place in your heart?
Bell: I used to love when it would be either Cricket and Danny [Michael Damian] or Chris and Paul [Doug Davidson] putting up their Christmas tree. I remember their first tree -- it was such a big deal, kind of like when you get your first dog or your first apartment. It's a huge thing in your relationship. I don't really remember a lot of scenes from that far back, but I clearly remember putting up our Christmas tree, and I had to put the ornaments on a specific branch, and we were trying to make it as natural as possible, and it was super sweet. It's always fun because we tape the shows in November, so working on a soap definitely gets you kick-started on the thought of making your lists and getting ready on the earlier side.
Soap Central: Can we talk about this amazing photo you recently posted of you with your three gorgeous dogs? I know it was for a scary reason, because your dog swallowed a sock...
Bell: My husband had taken that, I think the week before, because now, the poor guy has shaved arms because he had an I.V. in one. Unfortunately, he's swallowed multiple socks, and we've had no problem with them coming out in a very disgusting way, but this one, he was just so, so sick, and the vet said, you know, it was starting to get to eight, nine o'clock at night, "This can go very badly in the middle of the night." We were so depressed! He had to spend two nights in the hospital, and we were sitting at the kitchen counter slowly eating our food -- we felt so bad! We're very into our animals, and I was like, "What if he's in this cage and he's thinking this is his new home?" And my husband was like, "We'll get him tomorrow, don't worry!" And then the next day, the vet said, "Let's just keep him one more day for observation." And we were like, "Oh, my gosh." It was just all so hard, because we lost two in 2020, and so, to have to say to our kids, "Tyson has to go to the hospital," and to answer the question, "Oh, my God, will he be fine?" You're pretty sure, but you never know. But he's just a cloth guy. When we go to wipe him down with a towel, because he's always in water or whatever, he bites on the towel, so, he's very into cloth. But he eats everything! He eats a lot, so, it's just a reminder, like with kids, to keep small objects up high! The other two would never! So, it's just strange -- we've never had a dog that has done this. My husband did when he was young, so, he was aware. Their dog ate a lightbulb and horrible things! But when I put the story out there, everybody had their own story to share. It's a huge undertaking to get puppies and animals. We're really exhausted. We would never trade it for anything, but I think these might be our last two puppies. They've grown up a bit, but they're the sweetest ever and thankfully there was a happy solution.
Soap Central: Do you incorporate your dogs into your holiday plans?
Bell: Yes! We got a few chew toys [as gifts], and last year a very close friend who works with us had stockings made with their real images. We don't go out too often because we can't leave them alone for too long, especially now with Tyson being such a little devil, so yeah, our world pretty much revolves around them, and they are a part of everything. The only thing is, our other dogs used to let us put reindeer ears on them and put on Santa glasses and take photos and silly things like that; these guys, not so much! Forget it. They'll try and eat it, or it's just a game to them. [Laughs] But we'll get there. They're puppies.
Soap Central: You need to hook up with Camryn Grimes [Mariah Copeland] -- she and her fiancé have like five animals!
Bell: I know! It's so cute. We do talk about our babies a lot. They're the same way -- if it's going out or staying at home on the couch with a movie and blankets with the dogs, it's pretty definite we're going to pick the dogs. They enhance our lives a lot.
How do you feel about our holiday interview with Lauralee Bell? What Bell family Christmas traditions do you love the most? Which Genoa City Christmas traditions and episodes are your favorites? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.