Our Christmas movie series here at Nerds and Beyond is winding down as Christmas is fast approaching, and there’s nothing like the classic tale of Ralphie wanting a Red Ryder BB Gun. But everyone from his mom to Santa and his teacher are telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Find out why A Christmas Story should be part of everyone’s family tradition every holiday season.
I have seen A Christmas Story more times than I can even remember. We have a tradition in my family. Each Christmas Eve, we go to church, order Chinese food, and then watch 24 Hours of A Christmas Story on TBS or TNT. We watch it once or twice before going to bed, then watch it in the morning, waiting for everyone to wake up, have it on in the background as we’re opening up presents, and watch it when we get back from visiting family. It’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas movies that I can quote, watch, and rewatch as many times as humanly possible.
In case you’re not familiar with A Christmas Story, I’ll keep it brief. Narrated by an adult Ralphie Parker, a young Ralphie wants a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields, his mother, and a Higbee’s Santa Claus tell him the same thing, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” However, on Christmas morning, after he opens up his presents, his dad, aka The Old Man, tells him there’s one more present, and it turns out to be the Red Ryder BB Gun. Ralphie tries it out outside and soon shoots his eye out but lies and says an icicle fell. That night, Ralphie goes to sleep, holding his gun, with a smile on his face.
Some notable moments in the movie include Ralphie’s friends, Flick and Schwartz, arguing about whether or not if you stick your tongue on a pole in the winter, it’ll stick. At school, Schwartz triple-dog-dares Flick to stick his tongue to the pole, which he does, and it sticks. Miss Shields goes outside after finding out what happened, and the students watch through the windows in the classroom as cops and firefighters come to the rescue. Another moment includes Ralphie’s Old Man, who wins a “major award,” and when the said award comes, it turns out to be a leg lamp. The iconic line of The Old Man mispronouncing “Fragile,” thinking that it must be Italian, will forever remain one of the best. Other honorable moments, with no context, include “Oh fudge,” “Son of a bitch,” Scut Farkus, “pink nightmare,” and the Bumpeses dogs.
A Christmas Story is a traditional family Christmas movie that brings joy and laughter to any age. My family and I quote the movie while opening up presents. We sometimes quote the film in our everyday lives. We watch the movie as a tradition every year. There’s always something to love about it. You can love all of Ralphie’s attempts to get the Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas when he sneaks an ad into his mother’s magazine, asks Santa for it, writes about it for class, and brings it up to his parents but plays it off as he’s just joking and that he wants tinker toys for Christmas. You can love how older Ralphie narrates, making jokes, and calling back his memories from that time. You can also love Ralphie’s younger brother, Randy, when he eats his food like a pig or when his mother has him bundled up so much that he can’t even put his arms down.
Although set in 1940s Indiana, the house that was used for the exterior shots and some interior shots were filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. Since 2006, the house, which was renovated to look identical to the movie, as well as a museum across the street with props and memorabilia from the film, has been open to the public. Both the house and the house next door, which served as the Bumpus house, are available for overnight stays.
Several film adaptions have been made. PBS’ American Playhouse produced two television film adaptions featuring the same characters called The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski and Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss. In 1994, a theatrical sequel involving Ralphie and his family, It Runs in the Family, was released and was soon retitled My Summer Story for home video and television releases. A Christmas Story 2 is a direct-to-video sequel, which was released in 2012, and ignores references and events set in My Summer Story. None of the films reached as much success as their predecessor. Stage-wise, A Christmas Story: The Musical opened on Broadway in 2012, and in 2017, airing on FOX was A Christmas Story Live!
It might’ve been released in the early 1980s, but A Christmas Story remains one of the best Christmas movies of all time. It’s been aired as a yearly, 24-hour marathon on both TBS and TNT over the past couple of decades with no signs of stopping. This Christmas season, do yourself a favor and watch this classic Christmas story, but please, don’t shoot your eye out.
24 Hours of A Christmas Story begins at 8/7c on TBS and 9/8c on TNT from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.