December 16, 2022

15 Ways to Have a Day Straight Out of a Hallmark Christmas Movie in Cincinnati

Hallmark Christmas movies get a lot of flack for their formulaic approach to the holiday love story and tropes so leaned on that there have been bingo cards and drinking games made out of them. But they're undeniably escapist and cozy and offer a lot of ideas for holiday cheer you can find right here in Cincinnati.

Whether you're coming home from the holidays from an unsatisfying job to help save your family's historic inn, or maybe you're a cynical writer struggling to finish your story and need a spark of Christmas magic, there are plenty of ways to romanticize Cincinnati in only ways Hallmark could dream up.
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Grab some hot chocolate or a hot drink from Roebling Point Books, Blind Lemon and other local establishments 
Start your Hallmark holiday movie day with a hot drink to warm up. For some delicious hot cocoa, head to bookstore and fair-trade coffee shop Roebling Point Books in Covington. Or you can try a specialty latte like the spicy mocha, Redlegs (white chocolate and raspberry) or Muddy River (dark chocolate and caramel). And Maverick’s Chocolate Co. at Findlay Market and Rookwood offers drinking chocolate, which is made with their in-house, 65% dark chocolate mix and whole milk before being topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. And if you’re hoping for a more adult hot beverage, Blind Lemon in Mt. Adams has the “Milkyway,” made with amaretto, creme de cacao, hot chocolate and whipped cream, on their hot drinks menu alongside hot toddies and buttered rum. And Covington Yard offers a flight of “Shots Chocolate,” which is Ghirardelli hot chocolate with a choice of flavorings like peppermint, rumchata, s'mores and more. They also have spiked hot cider and hot buttered rum.
Photo: facebook.com/Maverick Chocolate Co.

Grab some hot chocolate or a hot drink from Roebling Point Books, Blind Lemon and other local establishments


Start your Hallmark holiday movie day with a hot drink to warm up. For some delicious hot cocoa, head to bookstore and fair-trade coffee shop Roebling Point Books in Covington. Or you can try a specialty latte like the spicy mocha, Redlegs (white chocolate and raspberry) or Muddy River (dark chocolate and caramel). And Maverick’s Chocolate Co. at Findlay Market and Rookwood offers drinking chocolate, which is made with their in-house, 65% dark chocolate mix and whole milk before being topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. And if you’re hoping for a more adult hot beverage, Blind Lemon in Mt. Adams has the “Milkyway,” made with amaretto, creme de cacao, hot chocolate and whipped cream, on their hot drinks menu alongside hot toddies and buttered rum. And Covington Yard offers a flight of “Shots Chocolate,” which is Ghirardelli hot chocolate with a choice of flavorings like peppermint, rumchata, s'mores and more. They also have spiked hot cider and hot buttered rum.
Go ice skating at Fountain Square, Summit Park or Fifty West Brewing
Nothing screams wholesome Winter Wonderland more than people lacing up their skates for a glide on the ice. At Fountain Square, you can twirl underneath the glow of the Christmas tree – or drive bumper cars – after doing some holiday shopping in the many small businesses in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine and visiting the Shillito’s Elves in their new home at the Foundry. Summit Park in Blue Ash has their Warm 98.5 rink set up underneath a color glass canopy, and the four on-site restaurants have plenty of food, hot chocolate and DORA drinks for sale. And Fifty West Brewing has brought back their ice rink, along with fire pits, heated tents and hot drinks to keep you warm after a spin on the ice with that cute baker you just met.
Photo: Provided by 3CDC

Go ice skating at Fountain Square, Summit Park or Fifty West Brewing


Nothing screams wholesome Winter Wonderland more than people lacing up their skates for a glide on the ice. At Fountain Square, you can twirl underneath the glow of the Christmas tree – or drive bumper cars – after doing some holiday shopping in the many small businesses in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine and visiting the Shillito’s Elves in their new home at the Foundry. Summit Park in Blue Ash has their Warm 98.5 rink set up underneath a color glass canopy, and the four on-site restaurants have plenty of food, hot chocolate and DORA drinks for sale. And Fifty West Brewing has brought back their ice rink, along with fire pits, heated tents and hot drinks to keep you warm after a spin on the ice with that cute baker you just met.
Pick out a Christmas tree at a local market or farm
The visual centerpiece of any good Hallmark holiday movie is the meticulously decorated Christmas tree decked out in lots of colorful lights, ornaments and garland. And it’s not too late to get a tree if you’ve been slacking this year. Findlay Market and Shaker Tract in Harrison will be selling trees until Sunday, Dec. 18; Corsi Tree Farm in Hamersville has them until Thursday, Dec. 22 and John T. Nieman Nursery until Friday, Dec. 23. You can also take a trip to Whitetail Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Brookville for a tree, some free hot chocolate, hot cider and popcorn and the chance to meet a reindeer until Dec. 23. Or, if big trees aren’t your thing, practice the giving spirit and purchase a Douglas Fir Blossom Kit from Caracole and help support their mission to help those with HIV/AIDS.
Photo: facebook.com/Findlay Market/

Pick out a Christmas tree at a local market or farm


The visual centerpiece of any good Hallmark holiday movie is the meticulously decorated Christmas tree decked out in lots of colorful lights, ornaments and garland. And it’s not too late to get a tree if you’ve been slacking this year. Findlay Market and Shaker Tract in Harrison will be selling trees until Sunday, Dec. 18; Corsi Tree Farm in Hamersville has them until Thursday, Dec. 22 and John T. Nieman Nursery until Friday, Dec. 23. You can also take a trip to Whitetail Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Brookville for a tree, some free hot chocolate, hot cider and popcorn and the chance to meet a reindeer until Dec. 23. Or, if big trees aren’t your thing, practice the giving spirit and purchase a Douglas Fir Blossom Kit from Caracole and help support their mission to help those with HIV/AIDS.
Visit a small town, like Lebanon or Metamora, and revel in the Christmas aesthetic
There are lots of charming small towns close to Cincinnati that go all out for the holidays. Lebanon is known for its distinct Hallmark-movie vibe this time of year. Metamora, Indiana, breaks out tons of lights and decorations for its annual Old Fashion Christmas Walk, and Historic Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio, lights up with millions of bulbs each year. And on Saturday, Dec. 17, Loveland will be decked out in its holiday finery for its Christmas in Loveland festival.
Photo: facebook.com/Clifton Mill

Visit a small town, like Lebanon or Metamora, and revel in the Christmas aesthetic


There are lots of charming small towns close to Cincinnati that go all out for the holidays. Lebanon is known for its distinct Hallmark-movie vibe this time of year. Metamora, Indiana, breaks out tons of lights and decorations for its annual Old Fashion Christmas Walk, and Historic Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio, lights up with millions of bulbs each year. And on Saturday, Dec. 17, Loveland will be decked out in its holiday finery for its Christmas in Loveland festival.
Support a small business while shopping at local holiday markets
With some hard work and just a dash of Christmas magic, you can be the protagonist who saves the day and a struggling small business – or you can just do your part to support small businesses by shopping local for your holiday gifts. We have a handy gift guide you can use, or you can visit one of the holiday markets happening around the city. The Servatii Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt pops up at Smale Riverfront Park every Thursday through Sunday with local vendors. City Flea is hosting a weekend-long holiday market Dec.17-18 at Washington Park, or you can shop Esoteric Brewing Company’s pop-up holiday market from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.
Photo: thecityflea.com

Support a small business while shopping at local holiday markets


With some hard work and just a dash of Christmas magic, you can be the protagonist who saves the day and a struggling small business – or you can just do your part to support small businesses by shopping local for your holiday gifts. We have a handy gift guide you can use, or you can visit one of the holiday markets happening around the city. The Servatii Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt pops up at Smale Riverfront Park every Thursday through Sunday with local vendors. City Flea is hosting a weekend-long holiday market Dec.17-18 at Washington Park, or you can shop Esoteric Brewing Company’s pop-up holiday market from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.
Go sledding, glow snow tubing or tobogganing
This one requires some participation from Mother Nature, but luckily there’s snow in the forecast for Thursday, Dec. 22 and the possibility of a white Christmas. Some popular sledding hills include Embshoff Woods in Delhi, Stanberry Park in Mt. Washington, Devou Park in Covington, Harbin Park in Fairfield and Mt. Storm Park in Clifton. If you’d rather hit the slopes or careen downhill on an inner tube, you can take a trip out to Perfect North in Lawrenceburg for skiing, snow tubing and warming up with a treat in the lodge. You can also plan a holiday road trip to Strongsville in northern Ohio for tobogganing or Mansfield for after-dark glow snow tubing. Just make sure to load your road trip playlist with lots of holiday carols and songs.
Photo: facebook.com/clevelandmetroparks

Go sledding, glow snow tubing or tobogganing


This one requires some participation from Mother Nature, but luckily there’s snow in the forecast for Thursday, Dec. 22 and the possibility of a white Christmas. Some popular sledding hills include Embshoff Woods in Delhi, Stanberry Park in Mt. Washington, Devou Park in Covington, Harbin Park in Fairfield and Mt. Storm Park in Clifton. If you’d rather hit the slopes or careen downhill on an inner tube, you can take a trip out to Perfect North in Lawrenceburg for skiing, snow tubing and warming up with a treat in the lodge. You can also plan a holiday road trip to Strongsville in northern Ohio for tobogganing or Mansfield for after-dark glow snow tubing. Just make sure to load your road trip playlist with lots of holiday carols and songs.
Take a wintry hike at the Bender Mountain Nature Preserve and other scenic trails
Hiking is a great way to help you reflect and think things over. Do you want to quit your job in the big city to open a coffee shop in a small town? Do you want to leave your aloof, corporate-y significant other for the humble, kind and attractive veterinarian? Probably! But you can decide on the trail. Hamilton County’s Great Parks has 78 miles of trails throughout its 17 parks, including nature trails ranging from just the 0.15-mile Woodlot Trail at Winton Woods to the 2.1-mile Timberlakes Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest. Cincinnati Parks also boasts some amazing nature trails at French Park, California Woods and Ault Park. And in Delhi is the Bender Mountain Nature Preserve that offers stunning views of the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky. Find more stunning hike suggestions here.
Photo: Kara Driscoll

Take a wintry hike at the Bender Mountain Nature Preserve and other scenic trails


Hiking is a great way to help you reflect and think things over. Do you want to quit your job in the big city to open a coffee shop in a small town? Do you want to leave your aloof, corporate-y significant other for the humble, kind and attractive veterinarian? Probably! But you can decide on the trail. Hamilton County’s Great Parks has 78 miles of trails throughout its 17 parks, including nature trails ranging from just the 0.15-mile Woodlot Trail at Winton Woods to the 2.1-mile Timberlakes Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest. Cincinnati Parks also boasts some amazing nature trails at French Park, California Woods and Ault Park. And in Delhi is the Bender Mountain Nature Preserve that offers stunning views of the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky. Find more stunning hike suggestions here.
Rescue a furry friend from Cincinnati Animal CARE and other local shelters
If you’re prepared for the responsibility of a pet and want to welcome a new fur baby into your home during the holiday season, you can adopt or even foster a dog or cat. Cincinnati Animal CARE is aiming to have a “Silent Night at the Shelter” for Christmas and is actively looking for fosters, or you can see their adoptable dogs and cats on their website. Kenton County Animal Services is also hosting a name-your-price adoption special for all pets from Dec. 16-22. Other shelters and rescues in the area, like SPCA Cincinnati, Ohio Alleycat Resource and the Save the Animals Foundation, just to name a few, are also looking for fosters and adopters so their animals can head home for the holidays. You can see a comprehensive list of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky shelters and rescues here.
Photo: facebook.com/Cincinnati Animal CARE

Rescue a furry friend from Cincinnati Animal CARE and other local shelters


If you’re prepared for the responsibility of a pet and want to welcome a new fur baby into your home during the holiday season, you can adopt or even foster a dog or cat. Cincinnati Animal CARE is aiming to have a “Silent Night at the Shelter” for Christmas and is actively looking for fosters, or you can see their adoptable dogs and cats on their website. Kenton County Animal Services is also hosting a name-your-price adoption special for all pets from Dec. 16-22. Other shelters and rescues in the area, like SPCA Cincinnati, Ohio Alleycat Resource and the Save the Animals Foundation, just to name a few, are also looking for fosters and adopters so their animals can head home for the holidays. You can see a comprehensive list of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky shelters and rescues here.
See a holiday light display or show
Beyond romance, Hallmark’s holiday movies are all about making memories with friends and family, and oohing and ahhing at Greater Cincinnati’s numerous holiday lights displays are a great way to spend time with loved ones. You can revel in the warmth of the car with a hot chocolate while admiring drive-thru displays, including Coney Island’s Nights of Lights, Pyramid Hill’s Journey Borealis and Light Up the Fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds. If you don’t mind bundling up, Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights offers over 4 million LED bulbs in twinkling displays. You can also wander through the woods at Light in the Forest at the Cincinnati Nature Center or walk on the Florence Y’alls’ field to take in their interactive displays for Deck the Y’alls.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

See a holiday light display or show


Beyond romance, Hallmark’s holiday movies are all about making memories with friends and family, and oohing and ahhing at Greater Cincinnati’s numerous holiday lights displays are a great way to spend time with loved ones. You can revel in the warmth of the car with a hot chocolate while admiring drive-thru displays, including Coney Island’s Nights of Lights, Pyramid Hill’s Journey Borealis and Light Up the Fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds. If you don’t mind bundling up, Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights offers over 4 million LED bulbs in twinkling displays. You can also wander through the woods at Light in the Forest at the Cincinnati Nature Center or walk on the Florence Y’alls’ field to take in their interactive displays for Deck the Y’alls.
Visit a local candy store like Doscher's Candy Co. to buy decorations for your gingerbread house
If you’re building a sweet house for your gingerbread family, make a stop at some of the Cincinnati area’s locally owned candy stores to add some flair. Doscher’s Candy Co. has been making candy canes since 1871. Founder Claus Doscher used real peppermint oil and cooked the candy in small batches in copper kettles before hand-rolling them. The company uses the same recipe and techniques to this day. Their gift shop in Newtown offers a variety of candy canes, as well as candy buttons and their famous French Chew. And Schneider’s Sweet Shop has been serving candies from the same location in Bellevue since 1939 and still uses the same equipment, methods and recipes. Try their famous Opera Creams or an assortment of their other chocolates and cream candies, all made on-site.
Photo: facebook.com/Doscher's Candies

Visit a local candy store like Doscher's Candy Co. to buy decorations for your gingerbread house


If you’re building a sweet house for your gingerbread family, make a stop at some of the Cincinnati area’s locally owned candy stores to add some flair. Doscher’s Candy Co. has been making candy canes since 1871. Founder Claus Doscher used real peppermint oil and cooked the candy in small batches in copper kettles before hand-rolling them. The company uses the same recipe and techniques to this day. Their gift shop in Newtown offers a variety of candy canes, as well as candy buttons and their famous French Chew. And Schneider’s Sweet Shop has been serving candies from the same location in Bellevue since 1939 and still uses the same equipment, methods and recipes. Try their famous Opera Creams or an assortment of their other chocolates and cream candies, all made on-site.