A Christmas Story Christmas: Spoiler-Free Review, Trailer, Film Details

Sunday, November 19, 2023
It's no secret that A Christmas Story has become a holiday classic. The 1983 film is a Christmas tradition in many homes, and some channels even run the movie as a 24 hour marathon, just in case you want to watch Ralphie Parker's antics in an endless loop of frah-gee-lay fun. Now, almost forty years later, Ralphie is back. Peter Billingsley recreates his iconic role for A Christmas Story Christmas, now streaming on MAX and available to rent or buy on other platforms. But this time, Peter doesn't just star in the film, he's also the co-writer and producer. Read on for a spoil-free look at A Christmas Story Christmas.

Disclosure: I attended a sneak preview of the film and was able to meet Peter Billingsley (who was a very nice guy), but I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated here are my own. Movie photos by Yana Blajeva for Warner Bros Pictures.

You know when a sequel to a beloved movie comes out and you just hold your breath and cringe? You think, please, please don't ruin my memory of (insert favorite movie name here). I can assure you that this is not the case with A Christmas Story Christmas. Whether you like the movie or not, you'll (hopefully) agree that it does justice to the original film, and pays homage to the characters that you love and know so well. 

I've read many reviews of A Christmas Story Christmas and it saddens me that so many of them give away the entire plot (there's nothing worse than a spoiler!). You're not going to get a blow by blow summary of the whole movie from me, but I will share some details, and you can watch the official trailer below (but truthfully, there are a lot of spoilers in that, too, just to warn you).

About the Plot

Ralphie, now an adult with a wife and kids of his own, returns to his family home after the death of his father (knowing full-well that he's now in charge of making Christmas magical for his whole family). How do you carry on with your favorite holiday when the holiday patriarch is gone? Many of us can relate, knowing that over the years things change- we lose loved ones and friends, yet their echoes remain. You have to learn to adjust to a 'new normal,' and that is never easy. The movie does an amazing job of paying homage to Darren McGavin, Mr. Parker, 'The Old Man' (who passed away in 2006). There are some really touching moments that might make you cry. But don't worry, there are some really funny parts, too. Much of the original cast is back to reprise their roles, and I'm so glad because it wouldn't have been the same without them (I found myself waiting for them as the movie progressed). I'm purposely not listing their names here (yet) because I actually spoiled certain parts of the movie for myself by researching too much online before I saw the film!

Julie Hagerty (who you know and love from Airplane! and Airplane! 2) plays Mrs. Parker, Ralphie's mom. That role was originally played by Melinda Dillon (who is 83 and retired from acting).  I wasn't sure about anyone else portraying Mrs. Parker other than Melinda Dillon, but Julie Hagerty is wonderful. She is so naturally funny and slid into the role almost effortlessly. 

And don't be fooled into thinking this is just a silly Christmas sequel. There is a strong underlying message about life and things not turning out exactly the way you expect them to (and also knowing that's okay). We're talking about Ralphie Parker here, so you can imagine that nothing in his life is perfect, and there are some aspects of being a writer/dad/husband/son that Ralphie is grappling with. Life isn't easy, and sometimes Christmas isn't easy either! But I feel like A Christmas Story Christmas covers all of that in a lighthearted, fun, entertaining way. As Peter Billingsley said during an interview with my pal over at FSM Media, "...The outcome is always different than you anticipate, but that's part of the journey."

Before You Watch: Jersey Momma Quick Thoughts

-Watch the original again before you see this one. I know we've all seen it a million times, but it helps to just rewatch it again before diving into this one. I think you'll notice a lot more if you do.

-There are tons of 'easter eggs' in the film; little memories and nods to the original that are really fun to look for throughout the film, so keep your eyes peeled (especially in the attic!)

-Watch the end credits! They'll show you some awesome moments side by side, where they tried to recreate certain scenes from the original film, and I thought that was really special to see.

-This movie might be triggering to someone who just lost a parent. I'm not telling you not to watch it- I actually think you should watch it. But just be aware going into it if you, too, have lost a parent or even a close loved one like this, and you know your upcoming holidays are going to be a whole lot different than they used to be.

-This is a minor thing, but if you have very young kids, be aware that the movie shows parents buying their kids all of the toys from their Christmas list, which is a bit of a "Santa spoiler." Many kids might not pick up on it, and they don't outright say any Santa spoilers in the film, but just be aware that the wiser kids might figure it out. 

-Rated PG (for parents of young kids: you'll hear some minor bad language, see some mean bullies, and alcohol consumption)

A Christmas Story Christmas streaming now on MAX and available to rent or own on other platforms. Follow #AChristmasStoryChristmas on social media!

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