“A Magical Christmas Village” Shines with Marlo Thomas and Alison Sweeney on Hallmark

Herbie J Pilato
3 min readNov 5, 2022
Alison Sweeney and Marlo Thomas star in the Hallmark Channel TV-movie, “A Magical Christmas Village”

In 1977, iconic actress Marlo Thomas appeared in the now classic Christmas TV-movie, It Happened One Christmas, which was a remake of the legendary 1944 Jimmy Stewart feature film, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Decades later, Thomas returns to the small screen in the Hallmark Channel’s charming new holiday tale, A Magical Christmas Village. The film also stars Hallmark veteran actress Alison Sweeney, who also serves as executive producer, while Luke Macfarlane, Maria Meadows, and Maesa Nicholson present their own delightful brand of likability.

It’s nothing less than magical to see Thomas back on TV, where she starred from 1966 to 1971 on That Girl, her ground-breaking ABC sitcom. With That Girl, which co-starred the late Ted Bessel, Thomas paved the way for female empowerment, playing aspiring actress Ann Marie, one of TV’s first independent career women.

In 2022, with a contemporary take and a dash of nostalgia, Thomas makes her mark in A Magical Christmas Village. Her pristine comedic timing and wit remain razor-sharp, as she delivers a mesmerizing, near-mystical performance with the perfect balance of sweet drama.

In a romantic tale with a poignant family twist, Thomas plays the idealistic widowed mother to Sweeney’s single, more practical-minded daughter, and grandmother to the starry-eyed if slightly cynical Nicholson. In the process, the generational gap not only closes but its dynamic expands for the better — just in time for the holidays.

Colorful and cheery as can be, but not saccharine, A Magical Christmas Village brings to light its multi-layered message for every age. Modern life and love, in any form, are about patience, authenticity, and economics. The movie takes a realistic approach to storytelling while its measured dose of fantasy gingerly teeters between wish fulfillment and coincidence.

The on-screen result? It takes the entire cast and production team to make A Magical Christmas Village work — and work it does.

Off-screen, Thomas is married to TV talk show pioneer Phil Donahue and is the daughter of actor/entertainer Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Today, she carries on her father’s…



Herbie J Pilato

Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, and TV personality whose books about life and pop culture include THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS.