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The Christmas Spirit (2013) Filming Locations
For several years, the Hallmark Channel, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, has been cranking out Christmas-themed TV movies that seem to run the gamut from romantic dramas and romantic comedies all the way to romantic dramedies. In 2013, the channel presented The Christmas Spirit, featuring Nicollette Sheridan (who also had an executive producer and story credits) as Charlotte Hart, a single big-city journalist who has returned to small-town Laurel Springs to help care for her brother’s family while he is deployed with the military.
While license plates on cars indicate that Laurel Springs is in New York, The Christmas Spirit was filmed in Lebanon, Ohio.
If you have any tips on locations that I missed, please contact me on the Grahm's Guide page on Facebook.
SPOILER ALERT: The descriptions below include plot points of the film. Unfortunately, the movie hasn't been released to DVD or Blu-ray.
Much of the action of The Christmas Spirit takes place on charming small-town streets, including the first meeting between Charlotte and Daniel Huntslar (Bart Johnson), who turns out to be the unmarried real estate developer eager to turn the business district into an outdoor mega mall.
Most of these street scenes take place on the “unit block” of East Mulberry Street, Lebanon, OH 45036.
Reference: I'm quite familiar with the streets of the town, so I didn't need any reference, but found some details and terrific pictures of the sets here.
Several scenes take place at the Best Cafe, which appears to be the only restaurant in Laurel Springs.
The film crew used the façade, and the sign, of the long-closed Best Cafe, at 17 E Mulberry Street, Lebanon, OH 45036. The restaurant interior sequences were filmed several miles away at the local outpost of the Country Kitchen, 3150 State Route 350, Lebanon, OH 45036, which is a good spot for down-home cooking. They have a few pictures of the production on their Facebook page.
Laurel Springs Church
Whatever we might think of the theology of The Christmas Spirit, the locals of Laurel Springs are portrayed as devout churchgoers, as many of them attend a service at the Laurel Springs Church on December 23 and December 24.
The church exterior is actually the Lebanon United Methodist Church, 122 E Silver Street, Lebanon, OH 45036. However, the interior church scenes, featuring the church's beautiful murals, were filmed at the St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, 232 E Main Street, Lebanon, OH 45036.
Gwen's Home and Pam's Home
Charlotte has moved back to Laurel Springs to stay with her sister-in-law Pam (Amanda Foreman) while Charlotte’s brother is deployed with the Army. Pam’s family lives next to Gwen (Olympia Dukakis), an older woman who keeps her distance.
Exclusive: The beautiful private homes are located within the Floraville Historic District, Lebanon, OH 45036. Snowmaker.com has some great shots of crews applying fake snow. Please keep a respectful distance if you visit these locations.
I determined the location based on my familiarity with the area, and I haven't seen it listed anywhere else on the Internet.
Laurel Springs Inn
The Laurel Springs Inn is seen twice in the film. At one point, Charlotte and Daniel Huntslar are inside the film’s Best Cafe, when Charlotte points to the inn. Later, Huntslar is show getting into his car in front of the inn, before he drives off to a fateful meeting.
The real location is the historic Golden Lamb, 27 S Broadway, Lebanon, OH 45036. It would be quite a feat to see it from miles away at the Country Kitchen, where the Best Cafe interiors were filmed.
If you can afford a meal at the Golden Lamb, I highly recommend it, or try the more casual Black Horse Tavern at the back of the building. At least tour the historic inn, with rooms named for Presidents who stayed at "Ohio's Oldest Inn."
Townsfolk of Laurel Springs convene at the local city hall for important discussions about the potential real estate deal.
The building is actually a former county courthouse, which now houses OhioMeansJobs Warren County, 300 E Silver Street, Lebanon, OH 45036. If you're in the area and need work, it's a terrific resource.