About Christmas TV History

Monday, May 23, 2011

What I Did on Summer Vacation: A Christmas Story House

Sunday, May 22nd with the sun shining and temps hitting the low 80s, I made the glorious journey to Cleveland, Ohio to visit A Christmas Story House and Museum. You may remember that this film's story about Ralphie Parker and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun at Christmas takes place in Hammond, Indiana. However, many scenes of the 1983 film were actually shot in Cleveland, Ohio. The house used for shooting in the film has since been turned into a hip destination spot and includes a museum and a gift shop across the street.

A still taken from the original film of the front of the Parker family home

My photo of what A Christmas Story home looks like today--minus one tree

A still from the 1983 movie--Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) running in front of his home

I was living in Northeast Ohio in the early 1980s when this film was originally shot. I actually remember seeing the call for extras to come to downtown Cleveland for the filming of the scenes for the Christmas parade and the shots in front of Higbees and the Christmas window displays. But as a young teenager, I blew off this opportunity--never expecting to become someone who would see A Christmas Story a million times and end up making a career writing about it and other Christmas entertainments!? Oh well. In a weird side story, I DID stand in line for four hours to audition to be an extra in what became the 2000 Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger film The Patriot. Despite my obvious dedication, they didn't pick me to appear in the film :(

Inside A Christmas Story House--next to a Major Award!

Click HERE to see my early post about the movie A Christmas Story.

Inside A Christmas Story Home, you will find reproductions of period 1930s-1940s furnishings and decorations. They encourage people to wander the home and photography is permitted. The above photo of myself was taken inside the House next to the Leg Lamp that stands in the front window. Across the street at A Christmas Story Museum, you will find actual costumes and items used in the filming of the original movie as well as photographs shot during the making of the film. Don't miss either venue--and the price of your ticket covers both buildings. However, photos are not permitted inside the museum.

I recommend coming down to see the house, museum and gift shop in Cleveland, Ohio. Tours are conducted year round and begin every half-hour during their open hours. Check the website for prices and hours. On the random May afternoon that I attended, there were people from Texas, Wisconsin and cities throughout Ohio in attendance. This is definitely one of those pleasant places where it feels like Christmas all year long. Be sure to let me know if you make the trek--I'd love to hear about your adventure.

A still from the 1983 movie of the back yard where Ralphie met Black Bart--and nearly shot his eye out!
Then...and now:

The backyard as it looks today--the shed still stands :)

Last July, I made the journey to several locations of the exterior shots for the 1977 Christmas TV movie The Gathering. I took photos from these locations and they were posted on the blog Made for TV Mayhem--a site dedicated to made-for-TV movies and other entertainments. Though the story in the much-beloved movie, The Gathering, takes place in snowy New England, both the house and some of the outdoor locations were shot here in Northeast Ohio (Hudson, Ohio and Chagrin Falls, Ohio). Click here to see that post again. And, while you're at Made for TV Mayhem, you should check out the rest of Amanda's site and follow that amazing blog :)


  1. Looks like a fun visit, but I think I would need to be in the area for some bigger reason and do this as a side trip. Will definitely keep it in mind, however! Love the pics!

  2. I really need to go there! Thanks for reminding me about this local destination.

  3. We were there last summer and it was great fun. Randy (aka Ian) was there to answer questions. We took lots of pics including my grandsons under the sink.

  4. Thanks for commenting everyone. A Christmas Story House website says that actor Ian Petrella, who played Randy Parker in the movie, will be back again this summer between June and August 2011. Maybe I need to go back?

  5. Great post! This is definitely on my list of places to visit. :-)

  6. Great post - too bad you didn't try out as an extra when they made the call... who knew???

    I recently not only visited the house, but spent the night! I posted my tour of A Christmas Story house on Youtube. It includes the 3rd floor and some footage of where Leg Lamps go to die