This Is Us alum Justin Hartley loves his alone time, but even for him, there’s nothing like Christmas: find out more on his new Netflix movie and more!
His latest movie is called The Noel Diary, co-starring Barrett Doss.
“It has that same feel, doesn’t it?” Hartley tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue of how his latest project stacks up against the NBC drama. “For me, it’s always about the story and the character, and I thought it was well written and I thought the character was pretty intriguing in that he’s forced to go down this path, take this journey to try to uncover some details about his past that he might have jumbled up a bit.”
Hartley plays an introverted novelist named Jacob who encounters a woman (Doss) looking for her birth mother — his former nanny — when he goes back to clean out his own mom’s house following her death.
But “I’m definitely not a loner,” the actor says. “I’m not much of a party animal. I do like my alone time,” the actor says. “I love being around my wife. We spend quite a lot of time together. She’s my best friend. I’d rather be with her than be alone.”
Justin Hartley on his Christmas traditions
Hartley looks forward to a lowkey holiday at home with his wife Pernas, 33, and his 18-year-old daughter Isabella (from a previous marriage). “I just stay home and hang out with my wife and my daughter and eat food and maybe drink a little — maybe a little more,” he says.
One holiday tradition that’s followed him through the years: receiving a special Christmas ornament from his mom.
“I have two sisters and a brother, and my mother, every year for Christmas gets us a Christmas ornament from that year,” the SAG award winner says. “She writes a handwritten letter with each one explaining why she got that particular one. It’s really sweet.”
Hartley admits he doesn’t take down Christmas trees
“It used to be right after Thanksgiving, and recently we’ll put the trees up and everything before Thanksgiving,” he says. “And then my whole thing is if you come over to my house in July, there might be a Christmas tree up. I don’t mind putting them up, but taking them down is a nightmare. It’s sad. And it’s such a pain. So I just keep it lit up through January and then into the summer.”
Hartley also owns up to being one of those proactive people who starts shopping for holiday presents months in advance. “I developed a really good habit over the past couple of years where I shop throughout the year,” Hartley says. “It just makes things so much easier.”
Hartley does find one person on his list challenging to shop for, though. “My daughter is tough to buy for because I don’t want to get her the wrong thing,” he says. “What do you get a teenager?”
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