By Susie Bramhall
Photo Credit: Andrew and Cassandra Walker
As the holidays approach, we are reminded of those Christmas traditions that we look forward to each year. From setting up the tree before the Thanksgiving stuffing even hits the plate to planning the Christmas cookie exchange recipes prior to the first snowflake dancing across the crisp winter air. For all these reasons, and more, it’s a heartwarming feeling to celebrate the season.
However, one seasonal tradition that continues to grow by leaps and bounds is the Hallmark and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Christmas Movies lineup. These shows have become a holiday staple that we continue to look forward to in anticipation of our favorite actors and actresses creating storylines that will make our holidays just a little bit more cozy. Top off that movie night with a hot cup of cocoa, and it’s a winter wonderland movie extravaganza.
One such actor has certainly made his mark on the holiday giant network, with over 20 Hallmark movies under his belt: Andrew Walker. One of the most popular leads, Walker grew up in Montreal, Canada and knew from a pretty early age that he had caught the acting bug.
“I started acting when I was in elementary school,” says Walker. “My mom put me in a lunchtime drama program to keep me out of trouble and I fell in love with performing.”
Shortly after joining the program, his teacher started an agency and sent students out for auditions.
“I booked a few and that was it!” he adds.
I had the opportunity to interview Walker, and his real persona doesn’t stray too far from his online characters we see on TV. Gracious and appreciative to be included in our Holiday Home feature, it was clear from the start that he is a down-to-earth and humble person who feels blessed to have his family, his profession, and his business successes.
So let’s get to it…Lotz Of Happy Christmas presents: Andrew Walker.
LOHC: Did you have another profession prior to acting and how did you decide to pursue this career?
Walker: I’ve pretty much done a bit of everything. I had a landscaping business growing up, which took up most of my summers. But in the winter I pumped gas, worked as a line cook at a Mexican restaurant, and managed a pizza parlor.
LOHC: What were some of your projects prior to Hallmark? How did you get involved with the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries?
Walker: The first job I booked when I came to LA was a half-hour comedy called MAYBE IT’S ME on the WB network (now called the CW). I then got a recurring role on SABRINA THE TEENAGE WTCH and then booked a few pilots on ABC, did an episode of BIG BANG THEORY, CSI NEW YORK, CSI MIAMI, ER, WITHOUT A TRACE, a handful of indie films, and then got an offer to be in my first Hallmark film called A BRIDE FOR CHRISTMAS…that was 20 Hallmark films ago!
LOHC: How exciting that CHRISTMAS TREE LANE was the holiday kick-off movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! What was the best part during production?
Walker: I couldn’t believe we were given the green light to work on CHRISTMAS TREE LANE, which we shot in beautiful Utah. Alicia (Witt) and I were so grateful and honored to be chosen to be the first actors going back to work. I think the best part of shooting this film was seeing how happy everyone was being able to get back to work. We had such an awesome crew who were real champs about wearing their masks all day in 100 degree weather in close quarters. No one ever complained, and the movie turned out great!
LOHC: I agree…it’s a heartfelt story! What Hallmark movies, as well as other projects, do you have coming up?
Walker: I have some projects I’m currently developing, and a couple more I’m acting in; however, it’s too early to know their names. My one constant project is my juice business, Little West. My wife, Cassandra, is the engine behind the business, but I’m involved when I’m not working on my acting.
LOHC: Please tell me more about Little West!
Walker: We decided to start Little West because of a location opportunity, which was next door to our favorite yoga studio. Cassandra and I are ex-athletes and are interested in curing ailments through food and healthy diet, and we’re passionate about health and wellness. We also love taking risks and wanted to take the plunge into the world of being entrepreneurs. Little West is a family-owned and operated business and we are currently available at corporate headquarters such as Netflix, numerous film studios, grocery stores, hotels, and coffee shops. Plus, we just launched at 64 Whole Foods grocery stores in the Southern Pacific Region on the west coast.
LOHC: That’s wonderful…congratulations! So now, to the biggest holiday of the year: Christmas. What was your favorite present growing up?
Walker: My favorite Christmas present was always to witness people opening the gifts I gave them. I’ve always tried to spoil my mom, and there were a couple great gifts I’ve given her throughout the years that were fun to see her open. She deserved to be spoiled.
LOHC: Your mom has a nice son! How about family traditions during the holidays…what are some of your favorites?
Walker: We’re a musical family…we’re always playing instruments and singing at every gathering. Eating, doing puzzles, and drinking some great wines are also traditions in our family.
LOHC: Do you have a special recipe that you make each Christmas?
Walker: Yes, Sweet Potato Casserole. (see recipe below)
LOHC: It sounds delicious…thanks for sharing! So, other than your holiday movies (that your fans certainly enjoy!), what is your favorite Christmas movie or TV show?
Walker: I love watching the classics: RUDOLPH claymation, FROSTY the 1980’s cartoon… but I also love HOME ALONE, ELF, MIRACLE ON 34th, and of course, the classic SCROOGE.
LOHC: So, how will you and your family be celebrating Christmas this year?
Walker: This year will, of course, be a bit different, but fortunately, my wife and I decided to take a prolonged trip back to our hometown of Montreal. Before the government had reintroduced the lockdowns in Canada, we had already quarantined and haven’t gone anywhere else for over a month. So far our Christmas has been playing in the yard, going for walks in the snow, cooking, baking, and carving out time to help others less fortunate.
LOCH: That’s so nice to hear. And finally, what is it about Christmas that inspires you?
Walker: It’s the season of giving, and I love that.
It was a pleasure to include Andrew Walker in our Holiday Home feature and we hope this brought you some added Christmas cheer! Please be sure to check your television schedules and watch him in this season’s Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Christmas movie, CANDY TREE LANE. You can also follow Andrew on a variety of social media platforms:
Facebook Fan Group Page: Andrew Walker Official
You can also find out more about Little West at littlewest.com
Looking for a side dish for your Christmas feast, or just a delicious recipe to enjoy any day of the week? Try this Sweet Potato Casserole from the Walkers.
Andrew and Cassandra Walker share their recipe on Hallmark's Home & Family
Cassandra & Andrew Walker’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Gluten Free, Dairy Free
*can easily be made vegan, simply omit the 1 egg
15 cups cubed sweet potato (about 5 lbs)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten*
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4-1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup maple flakes (optional)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.Put cubed sweet potato in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until fully cooked. Drain.
3.Place sweet potato, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer (or a large bowl and use a hand mixer); beat a few times to combine. Add the egg and beat on medium speed, until smooth and creamy. Spoon potato mixture into a 9” x 13” baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4.Combine flours, coconut oil, and maple syrup and flakes in a bowl. Mix with your hands until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. You can also use a food processor. Add in chopped almonds and sprinkle over potato mixture.
5.Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.