Image Source: Getty / Araya Diaz
Joey Lawrence first stole our hearts with his roles in Blossom and Brotherly Love, but his latest role is extra sentimental. The father of two stars in Wish For Christmas, a heartwarming tale that gets back to the true meaning of the holiday season. POPSUGAR had a chance to talk with the actor and he filled us in on his own Christmas traditions, his favorite childhood memory with his two brothers, Matthew and Andrew, and how being a dad to his daughters, Charleston, 10, and Liberty, 6, makes the holiday season even more special. See his sweetest quotes below.
POPSUGAR: Tell me a little bit more about your movie, Wish For Christmas. What drew you to this project?
Joey Lawrence: It’s a family-based film and it’s also faith-inspired. I like to do a few of these because I’m a man of faith, but also for my kids to watch because a lot of the stuff I do, they’re young and they really can’t watch it. I’m also a big fan of Christmas — I always have been. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I know it’s become quite commercialized over the years, but I still love it just the same. We’re in the throes of Santa Claus with my little ones, so it’s just a lot of fun.
«The core of the holidays is to bring people together, to forget about all the craziness in the world and just get back to the basics.»
PS: What was your favorite part about playing this character?
JL: I don’t get to play dads too much. I just turned 40, but I haven’t crossed over into that plateau. I’m a dad in real life, so it was nice to be able to play one.
PS: What message do you hope this movie sends to viewers?
JL: That you’re never too cool for your family. Holidays are an incredible time of year. Yes, they’re hectic and stressful at times, but the core of the holidays is to bring people together, to forget about all the craziness in the world and just get back to the basics and realize what it truly is about, which is about relationships and family and love and being together and counting on the blessings we have. We focus so much on the have nots, and I think it’s important to focus on the things you do have.
Image Source: Getty / Angela Weiss
PS: Like you said, this movie is all about family. Do you have any special holiday traditions with your family?
JL: We are just that — we are traditional. I grew up — and even in the midst of all the working — my mother always made sure that we came home to Pennsylvania. We would always be home for the holidays, and I’ve continued that tradition. Like I said, I have a 10- and 6-year-old who are in the throes of Santa Claus, so we make sure we’re home for Christmas morning. They run down the stairs to see what Santa brought them, and then we go to my mom’s for Christmas Day and we have a big meal and we exchange presents with the extended family, and it’s just a beautiful day. We try to keep it as traditional as possible. That is our tradition — keeping it traditional.
PS: How has being a dad changed how you celebrate Christmas?
JL: I was always obsessed with the holidays. I still get excited about Christmas morning. Having kids has allowed me to relive the prime Christmas morning experience. I remember it like it was yesterday — going to bed with pins and needles in your stomach and you know Santa is coming and you think you hear him, and every time you try to fall asleep you’re like, «Did I hear it? Was that the sleigh on the roof?» And then finally passing out and then waking up a God-forsaken hour in the morning and going, «It’s time!» and waking your parents up. Getting to relive that from the other side — when you’ve been up all night, and you’ve been setting everything up, and you get two hours sleep and they come in at 5:50 in the morning with the energy of nuclear weapons — enjoying that from the other side is pretty, pretty cool.
Image Source: Getty / David Becker
PS: What is the best gift you’ve ever received for Christmas?
JL: Well, there’s been a few of them, but I think one of the best ones ever was we went down for Christmas morning and we opened up all the presents and there was this envelope from Santa Claus, and he said, «There’s one more gift, you have to find it.» Andy, my youngest sibling, hadn’t been born yet, it was just Matt and I, and we both got this letter. We started racing around the house and we finally ended up at the garage door and in the garage were two go-karts. We couldn’t believe it. We lived on an acre, so we were able to take them outside, and we rode those go-karts for about eight hours. It was the greatest thing ever. Santa really kicked butt that year, for sure.
PS: What is your favorite Christmas memory with your brothers?
JL: They’re all just so great. Like I said, it’s hanging the stockings with those guys and going to bed — Matt and I shared a room for a long time — and wishing each other a Merry Christmas and saying, «I can’t believe Santa is coming,» and the innocence of youth — it’s just a good time. The innocence that you get to experience is so short. I know some parents are realists, and they’re like, «Oh, I’m not going to lie to my kids,» but I’m not lying, I’m just allowing my children to be children. I think the realities of the world will hit you very quickly. If you’re lucky, you get a decade and a couple of years to experience life without the worries. I’m going to let my children hang onto that for as long as possible. Even relating it back to a faith-based thing, if you think about the joy that Santa Claus brings to these children, I relate it to the joy of the birth of God’s son, Jesus. It is really metaphoric. They will take that joy with them for the rest of their lives, and I know that because I have.