A Christmas Story. From October. Last Year. What? I’ve Been Busy.
So the truth?
I get a little depressed around Christmas.
I don’t know why.
Probably something about my parents’ divorce and how no one talks to each other and the fact that last night I realized that I cannot remember the last Christmas I spent with any blood relatives aside from my sister.
But who knows, really?
When my sister is here, she forces the Christmas Spirit upon me like a frat boy with a tray full of shots, and I take them — happily — one after another and before I know it I’ve decorated a tree and baked some cookies and even have some haphazard lights on the porch.
Melting, scalloped, gingerbread trim.
This year, there’s none.
And we didn’t even throw our Misfit Christmas Party this year — something I didn’t even think about until one of the regular attendees called to ask if it was happening.
I guess I was distracted by our upcoming trip.
About every other year we’ve been visiting Justin’s family in Omaha, Nebraska, which feels to me a bit like going to the dentist. I kind of dread it at first but then, while I’m there, I appreciate the necessity and eventually that fresh, clean feeling upon our departure and wonder why I was ever afraid of it at all.
I don’t dread it because of his family, but because of mine. Omaha is Ground Zero for me. The place where everything happened and nothing is left except the shell of a house I refuse to drive past lest it trigger some yet-unknown reaction from me. To me, Omaha is a place that used to feel happy, but now it’s not. And yet we go, because much of Justin’s family still lives there, and for him it’s still Home and not the Dentist and that makes me happy again. And his family, in all of their mass chaos and personality and warmth, makes me happy again, too.
It’s all very confusing.
Something else that makes me happy, year after year, but not quite the same way, is the movie, A Christmas Story.
It’s the longest, most horrific, makes-you-want-to-shoot-your-OWN-eye-out-with-that-Red-Ryder-BB-gun kind of torture, but it’s tradition. Since I can only handle tradition is small doses, this movie is perfect.
And last fall, when Justin and I headed to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my brother and eat fabulous hot dogs and attend the wedding of one of my dearest friends, my brother took us to see a house.
Not just any house — the house.
Did you know this was an actual home you could visit? And that it’s in Cleveland?
And while it wasn’t all decked out in Christmas lights (maybe they only do that around Christmas?), it did have the festive porch lights:
And of course, the infamous leg lamp:
It’s actually a museum that apparently houses original film memorabilia, but they charge something ridiculous like $800 per person to get in. (Okay, maybe it’s more like $10 for adults.) Since we can be crazy cheap when it comes to tourist attractions and would rather spend our money on food, we opted for a photo on the front porch.
Justin, me, and my brother Joel. (Let’s pretend I’m not wearing the ugliest sweater in the world. It was post-wedding hangover day. Give me a break.)
You can’t even see the lamp in the picture which is kind of a bummer, but worry not, my friends, for they had a gift shop.
They had plenty of leg lamps there.
For a mere $179.99 on sale, this too, could be yours. They weren’t even the frag-i-lay kind from the movie, but a cheap plastic.
I was seriously disillusioned.
In fact, everything in the gift shop was cool to see, but grossly overpriced.
My favorite part about the stop was seeing the Parker family car, which I believe is an original prop for the movie:
It’s a 1937 Oldsmobile Model F-37 four-door trunkback sedan.
“That son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!”
So Christmas isn’t all bad.
In fact, if dogs don’t eat our entire dinner and I don’t get my tongue stuck to a frozen pole or shoot my eye out with a Red Ryder BB gun, it will actually be pretty great.
And I might actually be looking forward to it.
Ready-or-not, O-town — here we come!
What are you doing this year? Any favorite family traditions?
Oh we have waaaay too many to name. Every year I dream of just running away during the holidays to some place super tropical and forgetting about all of this Xmas nonsense, but then when I wake up on the 26th I’m so grateful that I stayed. Even though I’m such a non-traditional person, at the end of the day I love me some tradition. I want to tour that house, I LOVE that movie!!! Definitely need one of those lamps haha.
You’re right – As much as I’d love to run off somewhere cool for the holiday, there’s something really comforting about the traditions Justin’s family has developed. And every year, I feel more like a part of it. We didn’t tour the inside of the house, but we did peek through the windows. :) (Oh, and I actually missed that movie this year since we were traveling on Christmas day!)
I feel the same way you do about most holidays but I am the opposite of you I have never had anyone other than my blood relatives to share it with:( . We just have family gatherings on both Christmas eve and day
Wishing you and all you know all the best this holiday season
Hey – don’t make a sad face about spending the holidays with your blood relatives. You’re lucky you have them. :)
I think you misunderstand what the sad face was for . I am grateful to have my family but at the same time I dont have a g/f and all the other family members older than me have their own family within the general family. Even if you include the people younger than me most of them have significant others. So going to family things is bitter-sweet in the sense that even in the crowed I actually feel more alone than when I actually am alone. I don’t know if that makes my sad face make more sense but just wanted to clarify that I am grateful for my family
I swear, your country has the randomest set of museums ever. Sorry Christmas makes you sad. It does seem like every disappointment has more emotional weight at this time of year, so I can see how you can get there. Me, I just focus on all the sparkly, which is the number one thing that gets me through a long, grey winter.
I know!! Isn’t it great? We’re the land of random museums. And fried foods.
The sparkly is good, but I live in NC (currently). There is no long, grey winter. :)
Well now I’m just jealous. (Just looked at a map and realized that I had North Carolina mixed up with North Dakota, which I imagine doesn’t have very nice winters.)
Well, in two days Omaha will be a much more happier place…because I’ll be there too!
Woohoo! Can’t wait to see you!
OMG!! what and idea of making lamp design. hahaha That leg lamp look so funny but seriously I want to buy one to put in my room.;) thanks for sharing.
It is pretty hilarious. :)