Some Thoughts on “A Christmas Story”

On Christmas Eve this year, I watched “A Christmas Story” for the 2nd or 3rd time. I was introduced to this Christmas classic a little late – I only saw it for the first time last year. However, it has instantly become one of my favorites. I love the phrasing used by the narrator (Jean Shepherd, author of the book on which the movie is based) – things like “Only one thing in the world could draw me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window” and “We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.” I mean, who talks like that? It cracks me up. Some other gems include: “In the heat of battle [with the furnace] my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan,” and “Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master.”

In addition to having clever and hilarious narration, all the characters in the movie are pretty classic – the kids are hilariously accurate 9-year-olds, the father is charmingly… well… he’s charmingly SOMETHING (profane?), but my favorite character is Ralphie’s mom. She is perpetually patient with both her children and her husband, and there’s just something about her that’s very endearing. She seems like a nice lady and a good mom. I hope that if and when I ever have kids, I have the good sense to let my kid sit in the kitchen cabinet and drink milk when he’s upset, if that’s what he wants to do. I also hope I’ll have the intuition to know which things I should tell my husband about the kid’s day, and which things to leave out or gloss over. I hope I will have the humor to deal with the curve balls thrown at me, and to always taste the soap I make my kid eat.

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