“You’ll shoot your eye out!” cries everyone with whom little Ralphie Parker shares his dream of Santa bringing him “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle.” A Christmas Story, released in 1983 and based on author Jean Shepherd’s childhood years, has become an American holiday movie classic. Shepherd grew up in Hammond, Indiana, the model city for the movie’s fictitious town of Hohman. Hammond celebrates the movie every Christmas season at the Indiana Welcome Center with fun displays and special events. The 2017 event runs from November 11 through January 7, 2018.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for 2017.
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Outside the Welcome Center, a bronze statue of Flick with his tongue stuck to the flagpole makes for a great photo op.
Macy’s A Christmas Story window displays
Inside, six scenes from A Christmas Story, five of which first appeared in the New York Macy’s windows, are on display, with a nearby monitor playing the movie scene that is being depicted. The first display is of the department store Christmas window in which Ralphie first lays his eyes on the Red Ryder air rifle. The fictional, Higbee’s, was modeled after the real Goldblatt’s, the store to see Santa in Hammond in the 1930s.
You’ll also see displays of the triple-dog-dare flagpole scene, the leg lamp scene, and Christmas Mountain where Ralphie asks Santa for the Red Ryder air rifle. Who can forget the dogs that run through the house and devour the Christmas turkey, leaving the family with no choice for dinner but a Chinese restaurant?
Photos with Santa—complete with slide
On weekends from Thanksgiving through Christmas, have your kids’ or grandkids’ photos taken with Santa. Afterwards, they will slide down the big red slide on Santa’s Mountain, just like Ralphie did in the movie.
Write to Santa
Kids can drop letters with their Christmas wishes into Santa’s Mailbox.
Buy a Red Ryder air rifle
Browse the gift shop, where you can purchase your very own leg lamp and other movie memorabilia perfect for holiday decorating or gift giving. And if you have your own “Ralphie,” what would be better gift than a Red Ryder air rifle?
2017 A Christmas Story Comes Home Special Events:
- December 2: A Major Event. Train rides for kids, bingo, movie showings, scavenger hunt, holiday market, more.
- December 7: Holiday for Heroes. This event is open exclusively to all of the region’s police, firefighters, EMS, military forces, and Hoosier Helpers.
- December 9: “Oh Fuuudge!” Tire Changing Relay. Parent/child teams run through an obstacle course. Entry fee: Canned foods/non-perishable items for the Northwest Indiana Food Bank.
- December 17: “Mommy’s Little Piggy” Mashed Potato Eating Contest. Entry fee: Canned foods/non-perishable items for the Northwest Indiana Food Bank.
- Write a Theme: Entries due by December 15.
- Wag Your Tail Wednesdays: Have your pet’s photo taken with Santa, Wednesdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Ugly Lamp Contest: Check out the entries in the Ugly Lamp Contest, a nod to the leg lamp featured in the movie.
If you go
The Indiana Welcome Center is located at 7770 Corinne Drive, off of Kennedy Avenue just south of the I-80/94 Exit 3. For hours, event schedule and other details, visit the Indiana South Shore CVA web site. Ask at the Welcome Center counter for a map to the self-guided “A Christmas Story” tour in Hammond.
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