Since it’s that time of the year, I thought I’d share my good friend Tanya’s (from Traveling Tanya) trip to visit the house from A Christmas Story. We watch this movie every year, and after hearing all about her experience, I can’t wait to plan a visit myself!
Tanya’s experience …
I love visiting quaint Christmas towns all decked out in their festive décor. In fact, I love everything about Christmas! The decorations, the lights, the music, the parties, the church services, the shopping, the baking, the movies…I really could go on and on!
Fortunately for me, the Midwest is full of small towns and big cities that know how to do it up right for the holidays.
Now you may not think of Cleveland when you dream about the picturesque Christmas towns highlighted in Hallmark movies. But Cleveland was the setting for one of the most iconic Christmas movies of our time…A Christmas Story.
Cleveland is where Ralphie Parker finally got his Red Ryder BB gun! And that makes it the perfect destination for a holiday-themed trip any time of the year. I had a blast touring the iconic house, checking out the movie’s artifacts, and purchasing plenty of movie memorabilia in the gift shop on a recent visit.
An Iconic Christmas Movie
Love it or hate it, A Christmas Story is one of the most well-known, if not always beloved, holiday movies.
The movie debuted in 1983 but depicts an Indiana family in the 1940s. The movie didn’t do all that well at the box office and critics did not give it high praise.
It wasn’t until years later when A Christmas Story found its way to the small screen, that it won over the hearts of millions. And became a holiday movie classic.
Thanks to Turner Broadcasting System, since 1997 millions of people have had the opportunity to binge on A Christmas Story with a 24-hour marathon every holiday season.
While the movie takes place in the fictitious town of Holmon, Indiana, the actual house where 60% of the movie’s footage was recorded is in Cleveland, Ohio.
Twenty industrial towns that still had some resemblance to a 1940’s community along with a large department store were approached to be the setting for A Christmas Story. Cleveland was the only city that responded, cementing its place in holiday history.
Many decades later the movie remains a holiday staple. And for the price of just $15 (less for seniors, children, and military) you can take a guided tour of Ralphie’s house and wander through the small museum of movie memorabilia just across the street.
A Christmas Story House
The house and accompanying museum, inn, and gift shop are nestled smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood where time seems to have stood still.
On my visit to A Christmas Story House I didn’t chat with any of the locals, but I have to wonder if they love or hate having this iconic home and all its many starstruck fans popping in on a daily basis!
Inside the house, a well-rehearsed tour guide reminds you of all the movie scenes you know and love. The tour guide also shares some inside secrets about casting and how the movie came to life.
Unlike many museums and former movie sets, guests are actually encouraged to handle the props and even act out familiar scenes from the movie.
Some notable props included the bb gun and bowling ball by the tree, the lifebuoy soap in the bathroom, the rotary phone in the hallway, and the newspapers on the kitchen table.
At the tour guide’s suggestion, you can even take on the role of little brother Randy by getting in the cabinet below the kitchen sink!
Arguably the most famous prop, the infamous leg lamp, is prominently displayed in the front window. The iconic FRAGILE box is also on display among many other photo-worthy props.
It’s a Major Award!!
A Christmas Story Museum
Many more memorable props are housed across the street in the museum. While these props are not to be handled, I couldn’t help but snap numerous photos.
Here you will find various outfits worn by the cast. Including Randy’s classic snowsuit, which provided the utmost warmth…yet rendered him all but immobile!
The museum also houses photos of my favorite scene from the movie, the triple dog dare. The infamous tongue stuck to the light pole scene, along with all the school scenes, were shot in Ontario, Canada.
Kids don’t try this at home!
Classic 1940’s era toys that would have been on many Christmas lists and lining the shelves at Higbee’s Department store are also on display in the museum.
The Bumpus House
The Bumpus homestead next door no longer shelters the Parker’s hillbilly neighbors. Instead, it has been turned into an inn for movie fans, welcoming its first guests in the fall of 2018.
For those who can’t get enough of A Christmas Story, you can spend the night in one of 2 rooms in the Bumpus House. Choose from the “Hound Dog Haven” suite on the first floor, which accommodates up to four guests. Or stay in the “Stolen Turkey” suite with room for 6 guests and occupies the 2nd and 3rd floors.
If staying in the Bumpus House isn’t your cup of tea, you can actually stay in the private 3rd floor loft of A Christmas Story House. Once the house closes for tours, guests have full reign of the entire house!
I can only imagine how many amateur remakes of the beloved holiday classic have been recorded by overnight guests!
The Gift Shop
If you are seeking a piece of holiday nostalgia for your own home, the gift shop at A Christmas Story House has every movie keepsake you ever wanted!
From leg lamps in various sizes to pink bunny suits to t-shirts, blankets, board games, magnets, puzzles, and so much more! You can even start or add to your collection of Department 56 village collectibles depicting all your favorite A Christmas Story scenes.
And guess what movie you can watch on a continuous loop while you shop?!
Pick up a jar of Ovaltine or purchase an official Red Ryder BB gun, and you will be set for your next White Elephant gift exchange!
Go ahead, say it. I know you want to!
You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!!
I highly recommend a trip to A Christmas Story House and Museum for some good old-fashioned holiday nostalgia.
Soon your front window can also proudly display the classic leg lamp!
A Christmas Story House and Museum is open year-round, with extended hours around the holidays. So no matter the season, if you find yourself in Cleveland, I highly recommend a visit to this attraction for some good old-fashioned holiday nostalgia.
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