The movie A Christmas Story turns 25 this year. I remember seeing it in a theater when it opened in 1983 -- I was a fan of Jean Shepherd's essays -- and now it's considered a holiday classic. I know people who have been watching it every year since they were old enough to remember Christmas. It's right up there in popularity with Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life, and has surpassed White Christmas and Holiday Inn, with the younger set at least. You now can buy a replica of the leg lamp from the film, either as an actual lamp or as a Christmas tree ornament, and there are few people who see the leg lamp and don't get the reference. Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie, is now a movie producer who appears in amusing cameos in his films, like Four Christmases and Iron Man. (He's especially funny during a "guest appearance" in Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show.)
When I spent Christmas at my parents' house in recent years, we never watched A Christmas Story completely from start to finish -- we saw bits and pieces as it aired on TV, just as we used to do with It's a Wonderful Life when it was in the public domain and every station possible aired it all through December. Both are excellent background movies to wrap presents by. I wonder how other people watch A Christmas Story ... and I'd like to offer the following seven suggestions if you're thinking about the best way to enjoy this perennial holiday favorite this year. In the comments, let us know your favorite traditions for watching the film.