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Hot Chocolate Holiday - What We Know So Far

Hold on to your jingle bells because the Christmas movie season is getting closer and closer. Yes, it's technically still October at the time of writing, but earlier this month, Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel (the latter via Oprah Daily) released this year's slate of Christmas-themed TV films for their respective networks. With tons of romantic, dramatic, and humorous TV features filled with holiday-centric plotlines set to air thus far, it might be hard for fans of the genre to pick out which one they want to watch.

Per A+E Networks, Lifetime's 2021 holiday line-up includes the adorably titled "Hot Chocolate Holiday." The upcoming movie is just one of the thirty films set to debut during Lifetime's "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" promotion starting on November 12. The film's trailer (via Vimeo) suggests that it's an easygoing rivals-to-lovers small-town romance, featuring lots of small-town warmth and holiday humor on display. 

Here's what else we know about the release date, cast, and plot of "Hot Chocolate Holiday." 

What is the release date of Hot Chocolate Holiday?

Per an official press release posted on the A+E Networks website (Lifetime Network is one of their entities), "Hot Chocolate Holiday" will debut on December 24 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. If you're looking for a way to unwind this coming Christmas Eve, this Lifetime pic might be just the thing you need. The movie appears to be ready for its big debut, judging from the high-quality Vimeo trailer, so it's unlikely production delays would hamper its upcoming premiere air date. Since Lifetime tends to repeat its original movies multiple times throughout the holiday season, interested audiences should also keep an eye on their TV guide schedule if they miss the film's original airdate.

Here's an additional release date fun fact: According to the film's IMDb page, "Hot Chocolate Holiday" was released on December 23, 2020, in Italy. So, if you live over there and the title "Hot Chocolate Holiday" seems familiar, that may be why.

Who is in the cast of Hot Chocolate Holiday?

Per the "Hot Chocolate Holiday" IMDb page, this charming new Lifetime feature stars Aubrey Reynolds as Colette, a coffee shop owner known for her famous hot chocolate. Reynolds is a veteran of several Christmas-themed TV movies, including "Christmas Tree Lane" and "My Christmas Love," per her IMDb profile. Jonny Swenson portrays Marcus, a dessert shop owner who swipes Colette's customers with his own version of the traditional holiday beverage. Swenson's IMDb resumé reveals he also had a small role in the 2020 feature "Echo Boomers," starring Michael Shannon and Alex Pettyfer.

Other performers listed on the "Hot Chocolate Holiday" IMDb profile include Kelsie Elena as Nikki; Robert John Moody as Frank Banner; Dele Opeifa as Steven; Nathan Lesser as Jonathan; Brandan Ngo as Simon; Susan Phelan as Sandra; Shae Robins as Mallory, and Madison Savoie as Angie. There is no word as to what, if any, impact these characters will have on the plot of the film.

What is the plot of Hot Chocolate Holiday?

As teased in the trailer, the plot of "Hot Chocolate Holiday" focuses on Colette (Aubrey Reynolds), the owner of a small-town coffee shop whose almost supernaturally good hot chocolate recipe keeps legions of customers returning to her storefront every winter. The recipe is sacred to Colette because it is adapted from her grandmother's special version. Because it's so prized, the hot chocolate recipe has become something of a trade secret that she has never shared with anyone outside her family.

When Marcus (Jonny Swenson) moves to town and opens a dessert shop next to Colette's coffee shop, the two entrepreneurs are initially intrigued by one another — that is, until Colette takes a sip of Marcus' hot chocolate. It tastes exactly like her grandmother's, which causes her to suspect he somehow took her top-secret recipe. A rivalry ensues, and Colette tries to figure out if Marcus did steal her secret formula. Soon, she finds herself drawn to him despite this possible betrayal. Will love or money win the day? Viewers will have to tune in on Christmas Eve to find out.