A Christmas Story: A Holiday Tradition


Jarrod looks at an American holiday tradition.

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Useful Vocabulary

  1. Embedding: Becoming attached to and/or becoming a part of something
  2. Cultural Shifts: Cultural shifts denote significant changes in societal values, beliefs, behaviors, or norms over time, reflecting the evolution of a culture or society 
  3. Festive: Relating to or characteristic of a festival, celebration, or joyous occasion; having a lively and joy-filled atmosphere, often associated with holidays or special events 
  4. Escapades: Usually adventurous actions that deviate from approved or conventional conduct, often associated with mischievous or daring adventures  
  5. Saturation: The state of being saturated, reaching full capacity, or the point at which no more of something can be absorbed, implying completeness or intensity 

A Christmas Story: A Holiday Tradition

The movie A Christmas story is repeated on TV in the U.S. for 24 continuous hours, during the holiday season.

A Christmas Story, the 1983 film directed by Bob Clark, has become a cultural phenomenon, embedding itself as a cherished part of the American holiday tradition. Its timeless portrayal of childhood innocence and the magic of Christmas has resonated with audiences for decades. The film’s nostalgic setting in the 1940s, based on the semi-autobiographical works of Jean Shepherd, connects multiple generations, creating a shared experience that transcends time and cultural shifts.

The cultural significance of A Christmas Story is heightened by its annual marathon on cable channels TBS and TNT, known as the “24 Hours of A Christmas Story.” This tradition, starting on Christmas Eve, has become synonymous with the holiday season in the United States, offering viewers a continuous loop of the heartwarming tale. This marathon has become a festive background for many families during their holiday celebrations, fostering a sense of unity and shared joy.

 In the film a young boy named Ralphie Parker embarks on a quest to convince his parents, teacher, and even Santa Claus to gift him a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun. The film is a nostalgic journey through Ralphie’s wintry escapades and his humorous interactions with family and friends.  In the 2022 sequel, “A Christmas Story Christmas,” the narrative follows an adult Ralphie as he returns to his childhood home to recreate the magical Christmas he experienced, reconnecting with his past and sharing the joy with his own family.

Reviews of A Christmas Story consistently emphasize its enduring charm and the universality of its themes. Despite the saturation of its annual airing, the film manages to maintain its freshness and emotional impact. Reviews often highlight the nostalgia-inducing qualities, the humor, and the memorable performances, ensuring that each viewing remains a delightful experience.

by ECP coach Jarrod Olman

Let’s chat about that

  1. How do nostalgic movies contribute to the festive atmosphere during the holiday season? 
  2. Share a cherished Christmas tradition from your family. How does it bring a sense of continuity and joy to your celebrations?
  3. Share a memorable family moment during the holiday season. How did it strengthen the sense of togetherness?
  4. Explore the role of technology and contemporary influences in shaping new Christmas customs.
  5. How has the concept of Christmas traditions evolved in modern times? Discuss any changes or adaptations your family has made to traditional practices.