A Christmas Story Christmas: 6+ Thoughts I had While Watching The HBO Max Sequel

Peter Billingsley with a tree in A Christmas Story Christmas
(Image credit: HBO Max)

A Christmas Story holds a very special place in my heart. It’s a movie that I’ve loved almost all of my life.  Ralphie’s wins are my wins. Because of my devotion to the movie, I was both excited and scared to learn about HBO Max’s A Christmas Story Christmas. HBO Max has a lot of great original TV shows and movies, so this slightly eased some of my fears about this sequel.

However, I still didn’t know what to expect from it. I knew some things about it, but not enough to determine the road it would take. The Christmas Story Christmas trailer offered some insight, but I still didn’t know if it would live up to the original. 

Additionally, a lot of the recent sequels and reboots didn’t inspire confidence in A Christmas Story Christmas. 

However, like an anxious child on Christmas, once it became available to stream,  I dove right into this HBO Max original. Let’s pretend Christmas came early and dig into my thoughts on A Christmas Story Christmas. 

Warning A Christmas Story Christmas Spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution. 

Julie Hagerty in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Mrs. Parker Is The Star Of A Christmas Story Christmas 

Melinda Dillon gave Mrs. Parker a fun spirit. She didn’t steal the film, but her presence was a nice buffer between the crazy male characters. And she had her own delightful brand of craziness. Mrs. Parker is a lovely character in A Christmas Story. She is even better in  A Christmas Story Christmas.

Julie Hagerty is a wonderful addition to the Christmas Story Christmas cast. She doesn’t miss a beat and steals every scene. She makes Mrs. Parker an extremely fun grandma. Mrs. Parker also feels like a warm hug when necessary. 

Her scenes with Sandy (Erinn Hayes) are some of the best in the movie. I assume that Sandy and Mrs. Parker are friends, but Mrs. Parker has no problem throwing sly jabs at her daughter-in-law. 

Mrs. Parker seems like such a nice lady, which makes it so funny when she makes fun of Sandy’s delusional confidence in her skating abilities or takes games and puzzles too seriously. You can depend on Julie Hagerty and Mrs. Parker to make you laugh in A Christmas Story Christmas. 

Erinn Hayes and Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Sandy And Ralphie Are A Perfect Match

I really enjoyed the new additions to the Parker family.  Ralphie, Sandy, and their children effortlessly capture a realistic family dynamic. Their personalities feel like how you would imagine Ralphie’s family. Their kookiness matches his kookiness.

Sandy is the perfect wife for Ralphie because she has her own dreamer spirit. They’re both kids at heart. They also seem to have a healthy relationship built on trust, respect, compromise, sacrifice, understanding, and encouragement. 

We never see them fight in A Christmas Story Christmas because there seems to be an unspoken understanding that helps them survive any situation. If only all movies, TV, and real-life couples had this sort-of dynamic. Might be boring for movies and TV shows, but I welcome it. I like seeing loving, healthy couples thrive. 

It’s a really sweet partnership. 

Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

I Miss Jean Shepherd’s Narration, But I Grew To Enjoy Peter Billingsley’s   

I did a double take when Peter Billingsley first begins narrating A Christmas Story Christmas. Jean Shepherd’s narration feels so ingrained into the legacy of A Christmas Story that it felt odd not hearing him in this movie. 

However, as A Christmas Story Christmas continues, Billingsley’s narration finds its groove and becomes enjoyable. His voice gains character, animation, emotion, and sincerity. Billingsley makes the narration his own but also gives it a similar quality to the original movie. 

They both feel like Ralphie using this narration to welcome you into his home and life. 

R.D Robb and Scott Schwartz in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

This Movie Is Full Of Grudges 

Schwartz (R.D Robb) and Flick (Scott Schwartz) are two of the returning characters that have the biggest presence in this sequel. If you need a reminder, Schwartz dared Flick to put his tongue on a frozen pole. The rest lives in infamy. In the film, it’s been 33 years since that incident and Flick still holds a grudge.

He’s still so mad about that embarrassing moment that he uses the power of a triple dog dare to nearly kill Schwartz. Talk about not letting the past go. Flick isn’t the only one holding a grudge. Ralphie, rightfully, seems to still hate the Higbee Santa Claus. I can’t blame him for that though because that man is a menace. 

Surprisingly, Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) is one of the few characters who doesn’t seem to hold a grudge. In fact, he sees Ralphie kicking his butt as what changed his life in a good way. It’s nice to know a good ol’ beating can fix a character’s life. Heartwarming, truly...

Erinn Hayes, Julie Hagerty, and Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

A Christmas Story Christmas Captures The '70s Era 

The costumes and set design feel very ‘70s, at least to my limited knowledge of the ‘70s. I loved the opening scene where Ralphie describes his humble Chicago home. It makes the vibrancy of the ‘70s stand out. It also makes me (as a Chicagoan) watch in amazement as we see a ‘70s Red Line train. 

I wanted to see more of the ‘70s Chicago setting, but of course, Indiana is where most of the action takes place in this movie. 

One thing that makes both A Christmas Story and A Christmas Story Christmas special is their ability to feel like a time capsule. They both seamlessly capture the era they represent. The simplicity of the time is felt. 

It was a time when children played outside to have fun, listening to the radio is a big event, and Scrabble games are a major source of competitive tension. 

These movies aren’t complicated by the problems of the world, though they are quietly addressed. It’s too occupied by the simple pleasures of a family at Christmas time. 

Julianna Layne with a Santa Claus in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

It’s A Miracle The Children Survive A Christmas Story Christmas 

I laughed the most when Ralphie took out his daughter, Julie’s (Julianna Layne) eye. It’s a clever callback to him taking out his own eye in A Christmas Story. The film also has many moments of child endangerment. Flick, Schwartz, and Ralphie let Mark (River Drosche) briefly work at a bar. 

Then he breaks his arms repeating bad adult behavior. And let’s not forget how Mark and Julie casually tried to axe a tree and mentioned a chainsaw. Sandy and Ralphie also let them climb ladders with no adult help.

These little instances of reckless parenting are hilarious. They also seem to be a nod to the era and how relaxed some parents were about parenting their children and keeping them out of danger.

Erinn Hayes, Julie Hagerty, and Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Other Thoughts 

A Christmas Story Christmas is full of entertaining moments, so here are some more of my thoughts about this heartwarming comedy.  

  • Randy (Ian Petrella) whining to Ralphie is such a small, joyous moment.  Even as adults, sometimes we're still the annoying kid sibling.
  • I would definitely read Ralphie’s 2,000-page novel. It really can't be that bad.
  •  A Christmas Story Christmas has so many relatable moments, like delaying responsibilities for easier tasks.  
  • Whoever made those casseroles should be imprisoned. They are crimes.  
  • The caroler scene is my favorite in the entire movie. It’s so funny, so over-the-top and quirky.  
  • Never heard of the Midwestern Souffle until this movie. Apparently, it is a real thing. You learn something new every day.  
  • I wanted to see the “deranged Easter bunny” (which is an improvised line in A Christmas Story) make a return in adult form with Ralphie wearing it again.  
  • The Christmas Story cast is full of actors I wish we saw in more movies and TV shows.  This movie reminded me how much I would love to see them in more things. 
  •  Yes, I did tear up at the end of A Christmas Story Christmas. 

It took nearly 40 years, but A Christmas Story Christmas is worth the wait. It has the same sentiment as A Christmas Story: Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be magical. 

Stream A Christmas Story Christmas on HBO Max. (opens in new tab) 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.