With Thanksgiving and Black Friday now officially in the books, the Christmas season is once again underway. That means it’s also time for Christmas movies. Since I’m not big on movies in the first place most of these I could either take or leave, but I do have to admit a certain fondness for A Christmas Story one of the (somewhat) more recent entries into the pantheon of Holiday Classics that originally opened to little fanfare and modest earnings, but has steadily gained popularity over the years through the magic of cable TV networks with lots of time to fill up. To be honest, I’m not big on movies in general (and Christmas movies in particular) but one way or another, I always seem to end up watching this one at least once a year during the Holiday season. Most Christmas movies these days tend to fall into a few general categories: Angst-riddled yet vaguely heartwarming Santa-related drama, over-the-top syrupy CG animated Santa-related drama, or preachy consumer-related drama. This particular movie isn’t exactly free of any of those (well OK, I don’t think there’s too much syrupy Computer animation here) but it does manage to be rewatchable at least once or twice a year, memorable enough that after a couple of viewings you’ll practically be able to quote along with the dialog, and you can pick it up at practically any point in the movie and still be able to follow along. All in all, if I’m going to have to sit through one or two Christmas movies a year, this one is as good as any.
Of course these days, no good movie goes unovermerchandised, and as I’ve found over the course of what little Christmas shopping I’ve done so far, this one is no exception. Of course you can find the movie on DVD just about anywhere you look around this time of year, but it seems that more recently, a significant quantity of merchandise related to the movie has begun to appear in stores. I could almost see actually buying a t-shirt like the one above, until I realize that it would most likely end up spending 364 days out of every year (give or take a day or two) sitting in the drawer and being vaguely unfashionable. Maybe you really needed an excuse you could wear it to your gun safety class just to be ironic, but somehow that just sounds like a thoroughly bad idea.
My crummy cameraphone picture aside (I really should have a talk with the big guy up North about that one,) one of the more “popular” items (at least in terms of quantity of merchandise available) is the movie’s “major award” leg lamp that would be every bit as tacky in the modern living room as it was in the movie’s vague late Thirties to early Forties timeframe. While I do suppose that electric sex glistening in the window sells, I have no idea what you’d actually buy one of these things for. For a mere $400 or so, you can even buy a full-size replica of the actual movie lamp, complete with the FRAGILE (so you know it must be Italian) shipping crate. If you’re going to pay that much for one of the things I won’t judge you, but at least try not to break it, OK?
If you don’t have that much money to spend on one of these lamps (or a replica set of nightmarish pink bunny pajamas,) you can get one of the things in sleep short form as well. I suspect it would be a lot easier to bury these ones in the backyard if tragedy were to befall them (and no, I’m not going to elaborate on that one.)
Finally, there’s this. I’m not sure why exactly someone needed to create a train set based on the movie (apparently not based on anything which was actually in the movie, just based on the movie for some vague reason.) And for a mere $149, it can be yours to cherish for about three and a half weeks out of the year and leave in the box in the attic for the other eleven months or so. And yes, it comes with its own leg lamp too; in this case, it’s enshrined in the boxcar.
Shockingly enough, about the only thing from the movie that hasn’t been merchandised to death (just) yet is the Red Ryder BB gun so fervently desired by Ralphie Parker. People might be surprised to find out that you can actually still buy these, but they don’t seem to come with any evidence of any sort of movie tie-in. On one hand, this might just be because nobody’s figured out the potential yet. but more likely it has something to do with the fact that “You’ll shoot your eye out” doesn’t exactly make for a great marketing slogan. $40 will get you your own Red Ryder BB Gun, evil parents or Santas notwithstanding.
If for some reason you actually end up wanting any of this stuff, it turns out there’s a whole online store dedicated almost entirely to Christmas Story-related merchandise. In the interest of time I’ll refrain from going into too much detail, but they’ve got everything movie related that you could possibly ever want (or not want but somehow end up buying anyway,) right down to Lifebuoy soap imported from England for your soap poisoning needs. Just remember, you’ll sell your eye out, kid.