Miscellany: A Christmas Countdown, part 3
One of my favorite yearly rituals is tuning in to watch "A Christmas Story." It's one of the few Christmas movies that doesn't have some sort of sappy message or moral to impart - in fact, the film is unrelentingly obsessed with Ralphie's quest to acquire a Red Ryder BB gun to the point of absurdity.
It's also a strikingly secular, consumerist version of Christmas - none of the characters mention the actual Christmas story (you know, the one involving Joseph getting cuckolded by God) and the Wicked Witch from "The Wizard of Oz" is way, way more prominent than Jesus is in the movie. Some might see this as sacrilege, but let's keep in mind that the Christmas celebration has its origins in pre-Christian winter festivals anyway, and that Easter is much more important theologically than Christmas will ever be.
In any event, the movie has been the subject of many tributes, so I'll just focus on the central mystery - how exactly does "The Old Man," Ralphie's Dad, know what to get Ralphie? In the movie, Ralphie never mentions the carbine to his father, and from his mother's reactions through the story, it's clear she never told her husband anything about Ralphie's quest, either. Maybe it's a guy thing :P.
Merry Christmas, folks!