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Decking the halls:Local store owner helps out on Lifetime set

Local

By SERINA MARSHALL

Staff Writer

[email protected]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…in July?

If Gabe Eveland has his say, then absolutely. Not only is Eveland taking his love of Christmas and spreading cheer year-round along with the Town of Jonesborough, recently he took his love and decorations to the City of Nashville to film the Lifetime movie, “Christmas in Tune.”

“We were contacted at the beginning of May to ask if we were interested in decorating for a Reba McEntire movie,” Eveland said. “Truthfully, we thought it was a hoax at first because it was just a quick, generic email. But it was legit. Ten days later we were traveling to Nashville. We spent two weeks at three different locations; a 19th-century estate spread across 10 acres of pastoral land outside Nashville; Massey Concert Hall at Belmont University; and the luxurious five-star Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville.”

Each of these locations were used for multiple scenes in the movie. According to Eveland, “Christmas in Tune” will tell the story of Belle, a young marketing executive who is in jeopardy of losing her job. Desperate for ideas, Belle decides that she’s going to reunite a famous singing duo for a charity Christmas concert.

There’s only one problem. The singers are Belle’s parents (Reba McEntire and

John Schneider), and they haven’t spoken to each other in years.

Being Eveland and his team’s first film, they didn’t really know what to expect, but were excited when they were given the green light to decorate as they wanted.

“Three of us, including myself, worked with the art team for the production,” Eveland said. “We were given free reign to do what we wanted. We did pay attention to style and the big picture. We got the overall concept for the spaces and got to run wild with Christmas decorations.”

Some decorations were simple and easy to replicate, while others were very extravagant. “All of the decorations fit into a very classic and traditional Christmas theme,” Eveland said. “But all in a very different way, complementing the natural characteristics of each space.”

Eveland and his team had to make sure they had Christmas in every part of the space they were decorating, because you never know where the camera will land.

“Sometimes there would be three Christmas trees in one room, just in case that is where the camera landed,” Eveland said. “We took more than we thought we needed and used it all.”

Not only did Eveland and his team get to decorate for their first film, but they also got to watch the production the entire time.

“We would set up ahead of filming and then take it down immediately after. It was fast. We were in and out,” Eveland said. “We did 10 trees in one day and the days were long. The spaces we used were only contracted for a certain amount of time, so we were limited.”

Despite the craziness of being on set, Eveland. wouldn’t change it for the world.

“It was incredible. It was really, really fun.” Eveland is hoping this will open up more opportunities for him and his team to decorate more sets in the future.

So, will there be a viewing party when the movie finally comes out? Eveland says yes. “We will have a viewing party at the store when the production airs. Customers can also watch from home and join in our Facebook Live Watch Party that will also take place while the movie airs.”

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime to not only be able to decorate for the movie, but also to actually see how a Christmas movie is filmed,” said Linda Talcott, decorator and sales associate of Gabriel’s Christmas. “Working alongside Reba McEntire and John Scheider, my childhood crush, was an amazing experience. They were both so down to earth, so friendly, and a genuine pleasure to be around.”

In addition to making movie magic, Eveland and his team will turn Main Street into a winter wonderland as they celebrate Christmas in July all month long in Jonesborough.

On Saturday, July 24, Santa’s sleigh will be parked by the Washington County Courthouse to help celebrate Christmas in July. “A photographer will be on site to capture your Christmas in July moments,” Eveland said. “We encourage everyone to come join in the fun.”

Not only will the Christmas Spirit be present on the streets, but also inside the store itself.

“We have great sales throughout the store,” Eveland said. “If customers mention the newspaper article, we will give them a special incentive of a ‘free ornament with a $25

purchase’.”

The public will also have an opportunity to take a class to learn how to make some of the decorations from the film.

“We host our holiday decorating classes in October and November,” Eveland said. “The curriculum is currently being finalized but will certainly include a class (or two) on how to make your home look like it’s in a Christmas movie.”

For more information on all things Christmas, contact Gabriel’s Christmas at (423) 913-4477.