THE ONE AND ONLY ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS STORY

I need my annual fix — a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, quickly followed by A Christmas Story.

It’s a Wonderful Life is my sentimental favorite, but A Christmas Story makes me smile. We laugh before they show the funny parts because we know what’s coming. Watching it is our family ritual.

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The original narration by the story’s author, the inimitable Jean Shepherd, is a gem. It’s the story of Christmas seen through the eyes of Ralphie, a kid like me. A kid like you. I don’t care how many musicals they make. The original will always be better. Between Jean Shepherd and Darren McGavin, it doesn’t get better than that.

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I’m not sure what my favorite scene is, but it may be when the neighbor’s pack of hounds gets the Christmas turkey. Or perhaps the lighting of the world’s ugliest lamp!

If by some stroke of ill luck you haven’t seen it, it plays on most cable channels sometime in December. Just in case we miss it, we have it — and all our favorite Christmas movies — on DVD. It was released last year on Blu-ray.

It is sometimes poignant, but it is never sappy. It succeeds in being nostalgic without sticky sweetness and funny without being annoying. It may be the best role of Darin McGavin’s career.

A Christmas Story

Right after “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it’s time for us to watch “A Christmas Story.” It’s part of the ritual of Christmas and one of my favorite traditions. Just the narration, spoken by its author, the inimitable Jean Shepherd, is a gem. It’s the story of Christmas seen through the eyes of Ralphie, a kid like me. A kid like you.

SantaAndRalphie

I’m not sure what my favorite scene is, but it may be when the neighbor’s pack of hounds takes out the Christmas turkey. Or perhaps the singing of “Jingle Bells” by the staff of the local Chinese restaurant.

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There are so many great scenes, it really is hard to pick one. It remains our favorite light-hearted go-to Christmas movie.

It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone over the age  five hasn’t seen it. It plays on numerous channels every year, but just in case, we have it on DVD. I know it has been recently released on Blu-ray.

A Christmas Story

I highly recommend it. Although it is sometimes poignant, it is not sentimental, yet it manages to be both nostalgic and very funny. Probably the best role of Darin McGavin’s career.