Tag Archives: Holiday Traditions

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid.

A Christmas StoryA Christmas Story is one of the few holiday movies that gets it right. The producers managed to capture the essence of a child’s world leading up to December 25th. It works on the strength of a brilliant performance by child actor Peter Billingsly in the lead role of Ralphie.

This 1983 holiday film is based on the short stories and anecdotes of author/storyteller  Jean Shepherd, including material from his books In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories. It was directed by Bob Clark. The film has become a holiday classic and is shown numerous times during December, sometimes in a 24-hour marathon.

The film starts out innocently enough with the camera panning into a display window scene on the corner of Higbee’s department store in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana. (The original Higbee’s was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1860. It was acquired by the Dillards Corporation in 1992.) Narration for the Christmas Story is done by the author, Jean Shepherd, from the perspective of the adult Ralphie. He is describing the scene of Ralphie and friends drooling over the array of toys on display.

RalphieThe tone is set when Ralphie spots the Red Ryder BB Gun in the window and spends the next hour of the film trying to convince his family, by hook and crook, on why he should get the little firearm for Christmas.

This movie has more subplots than than a centipede has shoes.

  • The ongoing furnace battle
  •  Flick’s tongue stuck on the flag pole
  • Ralphie’s decoder ring (Ovaltine ad)
  • Dealing with bully Scut Farkus (He had green teeth)
  • The Bumpus hounds
  • Feeding Randy
  • The old man’s “Major Award” (Leg lamp)
  • Those glorious fantasy sequences of Ralphie’s imagination
  • Christmas tree shopping
  • “Oh Fudge….”
  • “Soap Poisoning”
  • The trip to Santa Clause
  •  Aunt Clara’s bunny pajamas
  • The not very politically collect, “Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra”

With the calendar flipping to December that can only mean that the first viewing of A Christmas Story can not be far behind and with it some of the greatest lines in movie history….

FragileOnly one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window. 

We’re out of glue.

 I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan. 

A Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.

Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness. Life Buoy, on the other hand… 

Cast Reunion

And you think your Christmas is weird!

ITALY

The Vatican, unable to prove the existence of modern-day Santa Claus decided to tell kids that a kindly old witch, La Befana, delivers presents to them. So instead of waiting enthusiastically for Santa to arrive in his reindeer sleigh, the children dreams of a witch bringing them Christmas gifts. So let me get this straight – Santa Clause is a witch? Is Santa Clause a good witch or a bad witch?

PORTUGAL
On the morning of Christmas day, people in Portugal have a traditional feast called ‘consoda’ with a twist; not only does the family get together to eat but also dead people are invited. Extra places are set and food is offered to the deceased.

AUSTRIA
In parts of Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland, the last month of the year is also a time, especially for naughty kids, to be scared! Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus, a devil-demon creature equipped with cow bells and rods, usually accompanied by the Nikolaus (a sort of Santa Clause) and roam the streets to frighten children as well as adults. This is called a Krampuslauf.

SPAIN
A typical Christmas tradition in Spain involves putting up a ‘belen’, part of the nativity scene – the day when baby Jesus wasborn and the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem. Except, among the figurines, you’ll find a character called ‘El Caganer’ (translated to the great defecator). In Catalonia, this figure is particularly popular. He’s literally defecating– the “fertilizer” means the year will yield a good harvest. Well isn’t that just special!

It begs the question: Does the Belen s–t in the woods?