Freddie Prinze Jr. has several holiday traditions, but among his favorites is sitting down with the kids to watch … a movie that left Us surprised, to say the least.
“Gremlins is a Christmas movie and a horror movie, and it is a tradition in my house that we watch it every Christmas,” Prinze, 47, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his partnership with Libby’s Vegetables earlier this month. “I don’t care what anyone says, but we sit and watch Gremlins every single year. … Gremlins is one of my favorites.”
The actor, who has a horror movie podcast called “That Was Pretty Scary,” shares daughter Charlotte, 14, and son Rocky, 11, with wife Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Perhaps scary movies aren’t so frightening when your mom is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
When they’re not watching the 1984 horror-comedy, they’re indulging in delicious food. Prinze is known for his skills in the kitchen, penning the 2020 cookbook Back to the Kitchen.
“It’ll be turkey as always, all the standard things,” he said while discussing holiday meal plans. “The one thing that I take great pride in is the gravy. I didn’t master it until I was about 40 years old and got the perfect consistency, the perfect flavor, and most importantly, enough for seconds, thirds and fourths. That was the thing. [In] my 20s and 30s, we always ran out and that ends [the party]. That’s not a good night if you run out of gravy in my house. So now it’s about having enough.”
The Christmas With You star never quite knows how long the guest list for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner will be — Prinze calls his home “the stragglers house” during the holidays.
“Anyone who wasn’t able to go home that holiday season or maybe didn’t want to go home that holiday season, [we’ve been] the house for them,” Prinze told Us. “So [I’ve] always made sure that we prepared enough food. The most we’ve had in one sitting was 22 people and the least is just the four of us, which was also nice, but I missed those big ones. It’s been about five years since we had a big one, and I really miss those. It was a tradition of ours.”
Whether it’s a big gathering or an intimate dinner, Prinze knows one thing is always important: quality conversations with his kids about family lore.
“My mom told me so much about my dad over a stove,” Prinze said. “She told me so much about my grandfather and my uncle, who I’m named for. My middle name is James. He was a Vietnam veteran, and she told me about it. That’s how I learned about these great men.”
He tries to do the same for Charlotte and Rocky. “They come up to the stove and I tell them about their grandfather and I tell them stories about their mom,” Prinze said. “It’s just an awesome opportunity for them to learn about their family. I remember exactly what my mom was making [when we had those talks] and I bet my kids do too when they grow up.”
Prinze also wants those less fortunate to have memorable Thanksgiving dinners, which is why he and Libby’s Vegetables are supporting Meals on Wheels with the “Thanks & Giving” program.
“[Libby’s] came to me and asked me for some recipes that would be easy side dishes, something super simple, healthy things — and cost-effective with canned vegetables because not everyone can go to the farmer’s market, especially when winter comes,” Prinze explained.
Fans who like, comment on or share Prinze’s Sweet Truffle Corn recipe post with the hashtag #LibbysGivesThanks through December 31 will initiate a donation of one manufacturer coupon redeemable for a free can of Libby’s to Meals on Wheels America.
The campaign “meant a lot” to Prinze, who added, “If I can be a part of them getting 500,000 cans of food, then that would be awesome.”
Reporting by Christina Garibaldi