[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
It’s a general rule of Christmas TV movies that they all traffic in similar themes, which is completely appropriate for the season when we’re all a little more game for that kind of familiar nostalgia. Every now and again, somebody throws something different in the mix, and this year Lifetime does it with The Spirit of Christmas, a holiday movie cloaked in a murder mystery and ghost story. If memory serves, I haven’t seen that combo before.
Starring Days of Our Lives‘s Jen Lilley and Other Plans‘ Thomas Beaudoin (who are both new to me), the story starts out with a career lawyer who’s serially dated but never found love being summoned to settle a late client’s estate over Christmas. When she arrives at the 100+ year-old inn, she learns it’s reputedly haunted, which is a problem for her because all the appraisers are terrified to stay inside long enough to do their jobs.
Undaunted, she decides to stay and see for herself what the story is. The caretaker (Black Mass‘s Bates Wilder) tells her she’s on her own because they shut down every year over the 12 days of Christmas because of “tradition.” What he doesn’t tell her is that that annual “tradition” involves the ghost who haunts the place becoming corporeal during that same window, so they vacate the inn at his request.
When she finds out the truth, she refuses to leave, regardless of the insistence of her newly-arrived roommate from another realm. Instead, she decides to help him figure out why he keeps coming back every year–for 95 years so far. You can guess where it goes from there.
I really enjoyed it. There’s a similar but non-holiday film in the Hallmark archives called Edge of the Garden that this echoes. I think this will be a really sweet companion for folks who already love that 2011 gem. And on the heels of Haven‘s finale, I’m a little more receptive than usual right now to stories about finding love across time.
The Spirit of Christmas premieres at 8/7c Saturday on Lifetime. Here’s a sneak peek (that’s a little more chipper than the actual film). Update: The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
LOL. I know that — I meant in the realm of Christmas TV movies, which are rarely literary. 😉
My dvr cut off the last 2 minutes!! Can anyone tell me what happened? Did Daniel come back?
Yes, he did. It looks like they’ve put it online since they are not repeating it. You can watch through your cable provider login at http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/the-spirit-of-christmas/video/the-spirit-of-christmas.
Thank you. Most of the Christmas movies are so predictable that if I miss an ending I know how it would have ended. This one was different so I just had to know.
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