What Is a “Holidate”? Just Ask Jessica Capshaw

The actor has landed her first rom-com, which could be the hit of the holidays. We check in on the Grey’s Anatomy alum to talk self-care and parenting during the pandemic



“My role [in] Holidate came to me as if I manifested it,” says Grey’s Anatomy alum Jessica Capshaw. “After more than a decade of doing TV, I really wanted to do a rom-com, and it happened.” In fact, Capshaw had no trouble slipping right into character for the new Netflix release as Abby, who is married with four kids and a big sister to Sloane, played by Emma Roberts. (Capshaw has four children with Prima founder and CEO Christopher Gavigan.) “I could relate to Abby, who often found herself wondering, ‘Who am I without my kids?’ and, ‘Where’s the ‘me’ time?’” Capshaw explains. Luckily for the actor, she was able to bring her youngest daughter, Josephine, 2 at the time, along with her to Atlanta for the filming.

So, what’s a “holidate,” you may ask? It’s a nonromantic date solely for the purpose of not being alone for a holiday (Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Halloween — you name it.) And while Capshaw’s character spent much of the movie convincing Emma Roberts’ character to find a permanent partner to settle down with, it turns out that in real life Roberts had already found her partner in Garret Hedlund. Although Roberts wasn’t pregnant during the filming, Capshaw says Roberts definitely seemed “more interested” when Capshaw’s kiddos would visit the set. “Emma’s got such a soft and kind way about her — no doubt she’ll be an awesome mom,” Capshaw says of her co-star, who is expecting a baby boy.

We checked in on Capshaw, who is currently quarantining with her family in their home in the Pacific Palisades, and asked her what life looks like these days, what she misses most about more “normal” times, and what holiday she really looks forward to each year.


LUKE BRACEY as Jackson and JESSICA CAPSHAW as Abby in Netflix’s Holidate. Photo by Steve Dietl/Netflix.


What has your quarantine been like so far?
I’d signed onto a new pilot for Fox/Warner Bros. We were in Atlanta on March 13, which is when L.A. went into lockdown. We came home. The kids came home. Everyone pivoted to remote learning, which is where we’ve remained. We love Montecito, so we rented a beach house nearby in Carpinteria. All my kids learned how to surf. We’d be out at Rincon Point every day, surfing and fishing. Our answer to the quarantine blues has been nature: We’ve been doing a lot of hiking, walking, fishing, surfing and trampolining ever since.

Have you and your husband introduced any new traditions to make the most of the time spent at home together?
It’s been great to watch the kids [Josephine (4), Poppy (8), Eve (10), Luke (13)] move into independence. They’re fixing things for themselves, making things for themselves. They’re at home; it’s great for them to learn to be more efficient and take care of themselves and the family. On taco night, Luke is making the guac, and the girls are grating the cheese.

With four kids how do you make sure everyone feels taken care of?
The other day, my younger daughter, Josie, was upset that I had to leave. I told her, “I love that you’re going to miss me. I see you all the time.” When my other daughters were her age, I was at work a lot, sometimes at 4:30 a.m. While there’s nothing “good” about the pandemic, what it has meant is that my family is together a lot more often. I am always trying to make sure they’re OK. As a mom, you’re constantly checking in. I remind myself you have to meet your kids where they are — whether they’re missing their friends or really feeling the negative effects of remote learning. Empathize. Name the fears and discomfort. It’s not fun for anyone. It will be OK. We will all rise to this new future. And in the meantime, it’s OK not to be OK. We’ve had days when things are great and other days when things are not so great.


“For me, self-care is being able to stay present in the face of challenges. I try not to bury them. I roll and adapt”



Actor JESSICA CAPSHAW. Photo by David Higgs. Hair by Mark Townsend. Makeup by Georgie Eisdell.



And how do you find moments to take care of yourself?
Of course, I understand that we have to take care of ourselves. What feels like self-care for me may not be the same for someone else. I think when we look back on this time, I’ll be able to figure it out. For me, self-care is being able to stay present in the face of challenges. I try not to bury them. I roll and adapt. Now is the time to stay flexible and nimble. That being said, I do like a nice bath, preferably with a CBD mineral soak from Prima.

What’s the biggest change in day-to-day life?
Feeding my kids. I used to pack lunches and snacks and send them off for the day. No one ever came home saying they didn’t have enough food. Now they’re hungry at every break, after every class. It’s constant eating at our house.

Have you started to make plans for how you’ll spend the holidays?
I’m not there yet. I am too afraid to plan. One step at a time, but we’ll be local for Thanksgiving.


JESSICA CAPSHAW as Dr. Arizona Robbins in Grey’s Anatomy. Photo by Richard Cartwright/ABC.


Are there any traditions you loved while growing up that you’ve introduced to your family?
It’s not quite a holiday, but I’m such a big fan of birthdays. My mom constantly says that she’ll have to create a hand-off document on celebrating birthdays for her children. Ever since we were babies there were balloons; you’d be served your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner. I make quite a to-do of birthdays. I asked my 13-year-old son, “Do you still like the balloons?” and he said maybe next year we skip. Then I talked to my 10-year-old daughter, and she confirmed she still loves them.

With things gradually opening again, what does getting back to work look like for you?
I’ve still got a full-time managerial position with my kids. I am still waiting to hear back on what’s happening with our pilot. And then I’m developing some side products, including a pitch for a movie.

What’s one thing you wish you could do right now?
I’d love for my kids to go back to school safely and be back with their friends.

Holidate is now streaming on Netflix.


Feature image: JESSICA CAPSHAW. Photo by David Higgs. Hair by Mark Townsend. Makeup by Georgie Eisdell.


Oct. 28, 2020

Discover more CULTURE news.

Receive Updates

No spam guarantee.

Stay Up To Date

Subscribe to our weekly emails for the hottest openings, latest parties and in-depth interviews with the people putting California Style on the map.