The Christmas Story Christmas and how it broke me

The Christmas Story Christmas and how it broke me October 1, 2023

A Christmas Story House, Cleveland. Wikimedia Commons

A Jewish person’s perspective

Growing up as a Jewish youth, I was not exposed to Christmas media in copious amounts. We didn’t have a Christmas tree. We only had a Menorah, we only had our dreidels and our prayers and I could only watch the seasonal stop motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie and Jack Frost live action films and the loveable Frosty the Snowman short from 1969.

We never had those flickering lights on our house for all to see, only lights that reminded us of our heritage and our history on the menorah.

That was up until I had two sons and households merged, and we all decided to have Christmas together along with Hanukah.

Having your children see the best of both cultures and worlds is a beautiful thing and can inspire great things within their minds and hearts.

California Christmas Original (Starting a new tradition)

The first time I ever saw The Christmas Story was in 2017 during the Santa Rosa, California fires. The story so simple as sweet, of a man recollecting a most cherished memory of life with his family during one Christmas. It is filled with loveable characters, including the cursing, laughing, lamp-winning and good-natured father, called the “Old Man,” played by roguishly handsome Darren McGavin. In my opinion, it seems obvious that this Christmas above the rest was the most important to Ralphie, as not only does he heavily imply this many times in different layers, but he specifically says this as he (spoilers here!) receives in his mind, the most prized form of a gift one can acquire: the one and only Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle that he had first ogled from the famous Higbee’s department store window with the other children those few weeks before Christmas Day.

The kicker that really makes it a beautiful moment, it wasn’t from Santa. It was from his father as a surprise. Here is the clip about the fated moment Ralphie gets the one thing he ever truly wanted.

He had toiled to get his mother(played demurely and with a brilliant confidence by Melinda Dillon), a hardworking, kind and caring woman who endlessly tires to keep her family happy, well-fed and clothed properly, to see that the toy would be a great gift idea to put under the Christmas tree, but she, just like his teacher, dismissed it(You’ll shoot your eye out!”).

The narrative led by Ralphie, played perfectly by Peter Billingsley, creates a richly balanced and powerfully resonant relationship with the viewer as we see his own emotions behind the mistakes, follies, antics and actions he makes as a child in a elevated fashion, mostly verbose with poignant language tangled with excitement and warmth, and we feel like we are him, and apart of his family in these crazy yet great memories.

Christmas Story Christmas (2022)

It follows in the new film for 2022, the new Christmas Story Christmas leads us to that same conclusion with the same sort of nostalgic experience as before.

It is set thirty-three years after the events of the first film and Peter Billingsley reprises his role as well as many others such as his old pals Flick and Schwartz. He has a wife and two children and is, like most of us, trying his hand at being a professionally published writer in Chicago, far away from his childhood home and birth city in Indiana.

Christmas is approaching, but instead of receiving a call from his manager of good news from one of the potential publishers, he hears the worst news one could ever hear during this time, or arguably, any time for that matter. His father had passed away and his mother needed him to help with keeping up the Christmas spirit in his honor, along with writing the obituary.

What follows is an imperfect family picture of grief, pain and sadness rendered in a light of hope, cathartic recollections of a man who indulged in a holiday for his family bonds and his traditional tidings, with plenty of humor, joy and love in between. To see the ending of how the father had lovingly wrapped all the gifts before the holiday (before he passed), and how they all came together so happily, honestly (I was already ready to cry but that sent me overboard) just made my heart leap for joy and I was sobbing. It reminded me of my own father (who is still here with us), who had always made time for us and created hand written cards and letters to me and also created great memories together, of our fishing trips together and of all the great car rides and laughs we shared.

These two films are a wonderful expression of love within the spirit of a holiday I had once never gotten to experience, but now I was sharing with my children and family.

I highly recommend these two films as a great nostalgic experience for your family for your holiday enjoyment! Have a great year everyone, and keep yourself safe and warm.

About Melissa Ingoldsby
Melissa Ingoldsby is a 32 year old author for Resurgence Novels of her debut horror drama I am Bexley. She lives in the STL region and is avid reader of mystery, romance and horror, a cinema fan and part time writer for Vocal and has many self published books on Amazon. You can read more about the author here.

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