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Danica McKellar's 'Christmas Dream'

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Danica McKellar's 'Christmas Dream' (Photo by Michael Grecco)

Actress Danica McKellar is probably best known for her portrayal of Winnie Cooper, the love interest of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) on ABC's coming-of-age comedy-drama 'The Wonder Years,' which aired from 1988 through 1993.

Earlier this year, McKellar shot 'My Christmas Dream' for Hallmark Channel's 'Countdown to Christmas' series of holiday films. In the movie, McKellar plays Christina Masters, manager of a popular department store.

When the chain's founder (played by Deirdre Hall of 'Days of our Lives' fame) visits the store, she informs McKellar that she's in the running to manage to a new outlet in Paris, but in order to land that job, she must first put on the most spectacular Christmas display in the history of the company.

'And on my way to meet her, I run into a very handsome painter,' McKellar said last week, calling from her home in Los Angeles. 'We make eye contact, there's sparks ' a definite connection. And then he spills paint all over my dress and ruins it. I have to fire him and it's just a disaster (laughs).'

I asked McKellar if that handsome painter who just lost his job and her character Christina might actually end up having a groovy Christmas together.

'You know, that might be the case,' she said, laughing. 'Since it is a romantic Christmas comedy on Hallmark Channel, you know for sure ' definitely ' they might get together (laughing) but I'm not going to give anything away.'

McKellar says she thinks of Hallmark Channel as a safe haven from some of today's stress and turbulence and was happy to contribute to that in 'My Christmas Dream.'

'In a world where there's a lot of craziness going on, it's nice to have a place like Hallmark Channel where you can go and relax and know that you're going to feel good after you watch something.'

For a certain segment of the population, McKellar is as well-known for her proficiency in mathematics as she is for acting. She says her parents placed a high priority on her education during her teen years on the set of 'The Wonder Years.' As a result, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from UCLA. To encourage young people to 'train their brain' to love math, she has written four acclaimed books, including 'Math Doesn't Suck' and 'Kiss My Math.'

'I always loved a good challenge and that was the first thing that attracted me to math,' she told me. 'I liked the fact that there was this seemingly insurmountable challenge in front of me with each math problem. I learned that if you just stick it out and really apply yourself, you can train your brain to understand and really master these concepts. By doing something like math, you actually make your brain stronger. It's like your brain is going to the gym.'

McKellar says her books are aimed at tween and teen girls.

'I teach math, but I also teach them the value of the confidence that comes from feeling smart,' she said. 'These are really confidence-building books in disguise. I do these book signings and girls and boys will both come. I'll ask the girls how their grades are and they'll say 'Oh, I'm getting an A minus' but then they'll say 'I don't really understand it very well.' Then I'll ask boys if they are good at math. They'll say 'Oh yeah, sure.' I'll say 'What are your grades like?' and they'll say 'Uh, C-plus.' Boys just have that sense of belonging and girls have a sense of not belonging. Sharpening your brain through math will just make you more fabulous and more capable at handling any challenge in your life.'

'My Christmas Dream,' starring Danica McKellar, David Haydn-Jones and Deidre Hall, airs on Hallmark Channel on November 30 at 8 pm, December 12 at 4 pm and on Christmas Day at 12:30.

'It's adorable,' McKellar says. 'It's a movie that makes you feel happy and puts you in the Christmas spirit.'

Last modified on Monday, 05 December 2016 13:14

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