Ralphie stuff.

November 1st is a big day in our house -- at least for me it is. Every year, November 1st is the day that the Halloween and fall decorations come down and my wife humors me enough to let me to put up my collection stuff from A Christmas Story. She thinks Christmas decorations any earlier than November are simply unacceptable and I can't say I completely disagree.

A few years back, Dept 56 started marketing these small Christmas village pieces through Sears and the collection has been growing ever since. While a person could easily go overboard by purchasing every last piece available, I have decided (for the sake of my bank account and my marriage) to limit myself to the pieces directly relating to the actual movie. For example, Ralphie and his classmates pull a fast one on Miss Shields by greeting her with mouths full of wax teeth -- but a joke shop (where I assume these teeth would have been acquired) does not actually appear in the movie; therefore, the joke shop made by Dept 56 does not appear in my house.

So here you have it. My almost-four-year-old daughter calls it "Ralphie stuff." My almost-two-year-old daughter just calls it "lights." I call it awesome. There's Ralphie in just about every well-known scene from the movie.

This year's additions include a pj'ed Raphie in the backyard just after shooting his eye out as well as a Raphie who's been pushed too far by his nemesis, Skut Farkus.

Back in 2007, my wife and I stopped off in Cleveland on our way to a wedding in New York. The sole purpose of our stop was to visit the house at 3159 W 11th Street -- the home A Christmas Story's Parker family.

Talk about a surreal experience! I walked the sidewalk where Raphie, Flick, and Schwartz wandered their ways to school. I snuck around the backyard shed where Black Bart and his gang attempted to get the best of Raphie.

Of course, most popular with the tourists, I found myself under the (wrong side of the) kitchen sink where Randy hid fearing his brother's demise.

Here are some other shots from our visit that you may find familiar...

For more on A Christmas Story and Jean Shephard's other works and fascinating career, take some time to sift through the links below.

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