A walk through the area of Mount Lehman around Christmas time may give some people a sense of déjà vu.
The Abbotsford neighbourhood has served as the backdrop for numerous film and TV productions, in particular one specific pop culture phenomenon: Hallmark Christmas movies.
The neighbourhood’s mix of rolling hills and rustic farmhouses make it an ideal setting for the feel-good films that seem to grow in popularity each holiday season.
Marjorie Delbaere, associate professor of marketing at the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business, told Global News earlier this month that Hallmark producers have hit upon a formula that works and don’t deviate from it.
“They are marketing an experience that many of us are seeking out,” Delbaere said. “We’re craving this wonderful feeling of positivity around the holidays.”
“They’ve figured out what really resonates with people and what they like — and we know what to expect. Sometimes we don’t want the unexpected.”
Mount Lehman appears to be part of that successful formula. Residents insist their cozy little neck of the woods doesn’t just play the part of a quaint, picturesque neighbourhood.
“Our neighbourhood is really, truly an idyllic, close-knit community where lots of grandparents and grandkids live together and neighbours know each other,” Jodi Warkentin said.
“When the movie crews come to film in our homes, they actually laugh and say, ‘This is a Hallmark movie for real. It’s like a Hallmark movie come to life.'”
This holiday season the neighbourhood has decided to spread good cheer for a good cause. They are opening their homes for tours with proceeds going to help the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that fights human trafficking.
“We hope people can come out and share some of the magic we have in our neighbourhood,” resident Sylvia Friesen said.
The Mt. Lehman Christmas Home Tour takes place on Dec. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
— With files from Squire Barnes and Nicole Stillger