“Facts of Life” Stars in “You Light Up My Christmas” on Lifetime

“Facts of Life” Stars in “You Light Up My Christmas” on Lifetime


A few weeks ago on date night, while emerging from the bathroom completely primped with a head full of very bouncy hair, I did an epic hair flip for my husband. His immediate response? “Lookin’ good, BLAIR!!” And there it was — one of the many inside jokes we share referencing one of the greatest television sitcoms of all time (or at least of our youth), and that show was…

THE FACTS OF LIFE.

I was an awkward teen throughout the early to mid-80s when the show was a weekly staple (and my husband was the awkward male version of the same), yet both of us were huge fans of Facts. It was the evening TV equivalent of the after-school special, and although it was set at a private boarding school and in many ways not relatable, it was ironically very relatable.

I loved The Facts of Life

Facts of Life ran on NBC for 11 seasons and started as a spinoff of Diff’rent Strokes. It featured their housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett, and tackled a plethora of adolescent angst-ridden topics including bullying, drug use, dating, peer pressure, sex, and even racism.

But it was the four young actresses on the show who brilliantly played teenagers facing real-life challenges and personal crises that we grew to love.

Their characters’ names eventually became household names, because who doesn’t hear Tootie, Blair, Natalie, and Jo and instantly go back to that cozy common room of their boarding school dormitory, and think of a young Kim Fields whizzing by on roller skates, a brusque Nancy McKeon jabbing with beauty queen Lisa Whelchel, and the standby jokester of the bunch Mindy Cohn adding comic relief to the most tension-filled moments.

Facts of Life cast
Here is the Facts of Life cast at a reunion in 2012. (Flickr: Dr. Duru)

The Facts of Life cast reunite for a Lifetime Christmas Movie

If you’re one of the millions of moms out there now raising your own teenagers and missing the show and the stars of Facts of Life, I’ve got some great news; they’re back! That’s right Tootie superfans and Blair wannabees, the girls are back on television, but this time they’re grown-up women, and they’ve reunited for a Christmas movie.

The movie titled, You Light Up My Christmas premiered on the Lifetime network in 2019 and it will re-air this season on November 20th at 2:00 PM ET.

I watched it when it first came out and am making a point to tune in one more time this year. Because Facts will never get old for me.

The reunion was the brainchild of Kim Fields, who was its executive producer. She described her fellow castmates who she invited to join the cast of her holiday film as “sisters,” and told People magazine, “It’s been amazing to work together again and have the ladies’ input on their characters from their wardrobe to names, as well as provide fun inside jokes for fans.”

The holiday movie is based on real-life events, and features Fields as a character named Emma who returns to her hometown two weeks before Christmas to find that her family’s Christmas business has gone “dim.” Yes, I know it sounds like the typical formulaic Christmas movie, where a woman goes back home to lift the town out of its holiday doldrums and raise everyone’s Christmas spirit.

But honestly? When I watched it the first time, I didn’t care a single bit, because I desperately wanted to see these women back together and in front of a camera.

Fields came through with plenty of inside jokes for long-time fans of the old show to enjoy, and she even had the writers name the fictional town’s ice skating rink after Charlotte Rae, the beloved actress who played Mrs. Garret, and who succumbed to cancer last year.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on rounding out my personal 2021 holiday movie marathon with these four ladies who now oddly feel like they could be my girlfriends and maybe even doing up my hair Blaire style for the occasion.

Why? Because, well, “You take the good, you take the bad; you take ‘em both, and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life!”

(Now that I have my own teens, ain’t that the truth!)

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