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Review: ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’

“A Christmas Story Christmas” starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker was released Nov. 17 on HBO Max. You’re likely to read a lot of cynical reviews — ignore them all.

If you’ve not watched it yet, let this serve as an official notice: No matter what you think of the original, and no matter what you end up thinking about the sequel, it will never live up to whatever we dreamed up in our minds, having watched it on loop every Christmas for years. We’ve all thought about where Ralphie and Randy and the other characters are today. Or, you haven’t ever thought of it but are now forced to.

In a sequel to “A Christmas Story,” Billingsley’s Ralphie Parker finds himself back in Hohman, Indiana, for Christmas following news that his Old Man has died.

Set in 1973 — 33 years after the original film’s setting — his hometown return comes at a time when adult Ralphie is coming to terms with his lackluster career as an author in Chicago.

Ralphie, of course, runs into old friends and foes, all of whom give viewers a chance to watch connections come alive again.

“A Christmas Story Christmas” follows the concept of the original film — with relatable family events and holiday themes intertwined with grown-up problems.

From daydreams to Higbee’s storefront windows, the film pays homage to the 1983 original without leaning too far into nostalgia that would make it cringy. Instead, the film finds a perfect balance of nods to the past while carving out its own holiday movie plot.

The movie’s soundtrack is full of classic Christmas songs woven into the backdrop of the film.

In an era when sequels, reboots and continuations of once-popular or cult classic media continue to rear their head, “A Christmas Story Christmas” carefully lets us in on a glimpse of Ralphie’s life at a pivotal moment — the immediate grief of mourning the loss of his father while trying to make sure his family has a perfect Christmas.

As someone who only recently began to enjoy and appreciate “A Christmas Story,” this sequel had me shedding tears.

It may not become a marathon movie like its original, but its feel-good, family-friendly story will entertain and, perhaps, help to introduce the original to a new generation.


A Visit from St. Nicholas

A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”