By Tara Yilmaz
Pittsburgh is my home and undoubtedly one of my favorite places to be, but Cleveland is sometimes my home away from home. I enjoy touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, shopping at the West Side Market, and most of all visiting the “Christmas Story” House and Museum. For all those who’ve lived under a rock for the past 40 years, the 1983 holiday movie “A Christmas Story” is by far the reigning champ of Christmas movies of all time… Well, at least growing up in my house.
For 20 years, my family watched this hilarious family comedy starting from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. It was on all day and night but we never got tired of it. With the intent of making my family members jealous, I made it a priority to visit this institution. I loaded up my kids and took a quick trip to Cleveland. Armed with my camera and a gushing bright smile, I took photos and gleefully sent them to my family. Indeed, they were jealous.
→ Did you know the movie “A Christmas Story” was based on the semi-fictional anecdotes of author Jean Shepherd? The movie reflects on the final days before Christmas in the early 1940s Cleveland and 9-year-old Ralphie Bumpus' Christmas list. Ralphie wants one thing from Santa Claus and that’s a Red Ryder carbine action air rifle. Viewers are enthralled in Ralphie’s villainous fantasies about the Black Bart Gang, his antics when he conspires to obtain and hold onto his Red Ryder rifle and most importantly, the cover-up when he nearly shoots his eye out. “A Christmas Story” has more than it needs to be considered a classic holiday film. This holiday theme comedy tackles everything from pesky neighborhood bullies, a grinch of a department store Santa Claus, and the everlasting Christmas dinner scene.
→ Did you know you can visit the house from the iconic film “A Christmas Story?” Prepare yourself to be amazed. Located in the heart of Cleveland at 3159 W 11th Street, fully restored to its original splendor. The house and museum is open year-round to the public. It’s even available for overnight stays. With the temptation to relive childhood memories and wake up in the Bumpus House, I fought off the urge and decided my real home is the place I wanted to sleep. Although overnight stays in the house are closed during the major holidays, the house is available for a two-night minimum reservation all the other days.
For more information, visit achristmasstoryhouse.com.
→ Did you know directly across the street from the “A Christmas Story” house is the museum and gift shop? The museum features the original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film. As added bonus, there are hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. You can even see the props, costumes, and toys from the Higbee’s window, the infamous Randy’s snowsuit, the chalkboard from Miss Shield's classroom plus the 1937 Oldsmobile Six touring sedan from the memorable “Ohhhh fudge” scene.
While Ralphie was helping his old man change a tire, he dropped lug nuts in the snow and out of shock he said an expletive word.
“Only I didn’t say ‘fudge.’ I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the ‘F-dash-dash-dash’ word!”
Even though we are headed into summer and winter is not far behind us and a few months in front of us, it’s never too early to take a moment to relive childhood memories. So, if you enjoy A Christmas Story movie as much as I do, hop in the car and take a two-hour drive to Cleveland. “Go on! I triple dog dare ya!”