Alyvia Alyn Lind celebrates the season with Maryellen

Alyvia Alyn Lind is a *busy* bee this holiday season. Her new Amazon original special, An American Girl Story-Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas, just premiered on Amazon Prime on Nov. 25, and she starring alongside Kelli Berglund in Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love on NBC, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. Talk about festive!

In Maryellen, Alyvia portrays the courageous and kind-hearted American Girl who grows up in Daytona Beach, Fla. Maryellen is simply trying to find that one *thing* that will make her stand out in her big, talented family. When a family friend who has polio stays with them during his treatment, she sets her mind on helping young polio patients have an amazing Christmas, despite their illness. Through her artistic gift of drawing, Maryellen helps give the children an *extraordinary* Christmas that they will never forget.

We caught up with Alyvia to chat holiday traditions, her amazing (and talented!) fam and being Maryellen. Read on for Christmas cheer and life inspo.

Girls’ Life: Are you and Maryellen similar in any ways? 
Alyvia Alyn Lind: I don't like to hear "Girls can't do that." That drives Maryellen crazy, and it drives me crazy too! When I hear that, it makes me want to do something even more to prove that I can. And Maryellen wants to make a difference in life. She doesn't want to be "ordinary." I can *definitely* relate to that!

GL: Maryellen can get overshadowed by her family at times—where in your own family do you fit in?
Alyvia: I have three older sisters and a mom who are also actresses. So when I was growing up, I could have gotten overshadowed easily because they were always in the spotlight. But our family is so supportive that when one of us has success, we always include the family in that success too. When one of us travels for work, we always bring the others if they are not working. It's always been so important to my mom that none of us ever feels less important than the other in any way, so I guess I'm pretty lucky.

GL: Maryellen is also searching for her *thing*—what's one quality you have that you feel makes you unique?
Alyvia: My family calls me "the silver lining girl." I don't think I actually do it on purpose, but when a situation is sad or scary or unpleasant, I try to find a positive way to look at it. I just want everyone to feel better, and I guess I want to feel better too.

GL: You're in not one but *two* Christmas movies this season! What is your fave holiday tradition?
Alyvia: Every Christmas Eve when I go outside to leave food for Santa's reindeer, I find snow on my porch (fake snow!). Then I have a mini snowball fight with my sisters while my parents take videos of us. I live in Los Angeles but just like Maryellen, I love snow!

GL: Would you rather spend the holiday season in sunny weather like Maryellen or in the snow?
Alyvia: Sometimes, we visit my family in Chicago and Toronto for the holidays and that is so much fun! There is nothing better than waking up on Christmas morning to find snow. But I would never complain about living in Los Angeles. Last year, it was so nice outside, we went swimming—and that was fun too!

GL: You recently visited patients at the Mattel Children's Hospital—what was it like spending time with them?
Alyvia: I feel that Christmas has become too much about how many presents we want or getting our shopping done on time. The true meaning of Christmas is being there for other people and spreading love and happiness. So when I visited those kids in the hospital, I felt like it was the best Christmas present I could ever get. I knew I couldn't make the children better, but if I could just make them excited and happy for a short time—well, it meant everything to me.

GL: Maryellen's mom teaches her so much throughout the movie—what's the most important thing your own mom has taught you?
Alyvia: My mom has taught me to never take our lives for granted. Our family has been given so much, and sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have a beautiful place to live, food, clothes and, most importantly, our health. She says that every single day we should be grateful for having such nice things, and to never forget that no matter how many things we have that family is the most important "thing" in the world.

Catch Alyvia in An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas, available now on Amazon Prime Video.

Photo credit: Amazon

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by Yasmeena Fakhouri | 11/30/2016