The Christmas Story leg lamp is a beloved collectible featured in the popular holiday movie A Christmas Story. The light is a unique and quirky piece, shaped like a woman’s leg with fishnet stockings and a fringed gold shade. Undoubtedly, it has become a beloved part of the Christmas tradition. Here is a closer look at the Christmas Story lamp and its enduring appeal.
The film was released in 1983 and took place in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana. It is based on the semi-autobiographical stories of Jean Shepherd, who grew up in Indiana in the 1940s. In short, the movie follows the adventures of Ralphie, a young boy who desperately wants a BB gun for Christmas.
At some point, Ralphie’s father is very proud of this leg lamp and is constantly extolling its virtues. He describes it as a “major award” and a “genuinely exotic” piece. He also talks about how it is “fra-gee-lay” and will make their house “the envy of the neighborhood.” Undoubtedly, the father is enthusiastic about the leg lamp and sees it as a symbol of his success and individuality.
The leg lamp prop was between 45-50″ tall and much more significant than most replicas. It was not a real product that could be purchased back in the 1940s when the film was set. Instead, head production designer Reuben Freed created the vision of the screenplay writer, Jean Shepherd.
Initially, Shepherd was inspired to create the leg lamp after seeing a Nehi Soda advertisement. In 1966, Shepherd wrote about the leg lamp in his novel In God We Trust: All Other Pay Cash! This was the first time the leg lamp was described in detail, and it later appeared in the 1976 PBS film The Phantom of the Open Hearth.
For A Christmas Story‘s leg lamp design, Freed was still determining exactly what it should look like, so he presented several sketches to Shepherd. Shepherd approved one of the designs and Freed then created three leg lamps for the movie. Unfortunately, none of the original leg lamps survived production. All that remains are vintage and contemporary replicas selling under $50 for a miniature version and around $200 for a life-sized version.
The leg lamp is a significant symbol in the movie because some critics think it represents extravagance and materialism. It also serves as a representation of the father’s struggle to assert his individuality and break free from the constraints of societal norms.
The leg lamp becomes a source of conflict and tension within the family. The mother and children are embarrassed by its garishness, and the father is fiercely proud. Ultimately, the leg lamp might illuminate the idea that true happiness and fulfillment come from within. In most cases, material possessions are not the key to a happy life.
The Christmas Story leg lamp is widely admired and collected by fans of the holiday movie. The lamp is also featured in a number of Christmas-themed products, including ornaments, figurines, and collectibles. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its unique and whimsical design, and it is a must-have for fans of the holiday movie.
- “It’s a major award!” – Ralphie’s father
- “It’s a genuine opportunity to make a statement – a statement of individuality and taste.” – Ralphie’s father
- “It’s fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.” – Ralphie’s father
- “It’ll make our house the envy of the neighborhood.” – Ralphie’s father
- “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.” – Ralphie as an adult
- “After the snap of a few sparks, a quick whiff of ozone, the lamp blazed forth in unparalleled glory.” – Ralphie as an adult