“A Christmas Story” kicks off the holiday season

Description: A Christmas Story Comes Home

In our house, Christmas season doesn’t really start until we break out our DVD of “A Christmas Story.” It’s the timeless story of a boy who wants only one thing for Christmas: A Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun. At every turn, his plans are thwarted by the classic parental block: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Two years ago, we added a new holiday tradition: a trek to northwest Indiana to see the animated “A Christmas Story” displays created for Macy’s windows. They’re now now owned by the Welcome Center in Hammond, Ind., located at the intersection just south of I-80/94 at the Kennedy Avenue exit. Hammond was the home of Jean Shepherd, the author of the story.

The displays includes six of my favorite scenes from the movie: Higbee’s Department Store Window, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, The Bumpus Hounds, the Parker Living Room and the No. 1 best scene ever: Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare.

Best of all, the exhibit is available at the family-friendly price of…. FREE.

It opens Nov. 1 and will remain on display through Jan. 9, 2011.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the Welcome Center also will host a bunch of Christmas Story-themes special events, including:

Nov. 21 Kids’ Kickoff: Children’s activities from 11am to 3pm, including free train rides, “Flick” Bingo, movie showings, crafts and sweet treats.

Dec. 4 and 5 Festival Weekend: Enter the “Mommy’s Little Piggy” mashed potato eating contest for free and meet cast members for a fee. Call (219) 989-7770 for more information.

Dec. 11 “Oh Fuuudge!” tire changing relay: Parent/child teams run through an obstacle course and prizes will be awarded to the pair with the best time.

While you’re there, don’t forget to vote in the ugliest lamp contest.

For more information or to sign up for any of the events visit www.aChristmasStoryComesHome.com.

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