A Christmas Story Christmas: Is the Movie Based on Real Life?

Image Credit: Yana Blajeva/HBO Max

Directed by Clay Kaytis, ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ is an HBO Max holiday season comedy film. The story takes place in the days leading up to and during the Christmas of 1973. It revolves around Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), a family man and father of two who desires to become a professional writer. Following his father’s sudden death, Ralphie returns to his hometown of Hohman, Indiana, to help his mother organize Christmas just the way Mr. Parker or the Old Man had done all these years. But it soon proves to be a much more difficult task than Ralphie thought, making him wonder how his father managed it year after year.

‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ is a film about an imperfect but relatable family. If that has made you wonder whether it is inspired by true events, we got you covered.

A Christmas Story Christmas: A Fictional Tale Built on Classic Characters

While ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ is not based on a true story, it is associated with one. The film is a sequel to the 1983 classic ‘A Christmas Story,’ which is the cinematic adaptation of various semi-autobiographical anecdotes from humorist Jean Shepherd, published in the 1966 book ‘In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.’ Some aspects from Shepherd’s 1971 book ‘Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters’ also made their way into the plot of the 1983 film.

The HBO Max movie is based on a story by Billingsley and Nick Schenk, transformed into a screenplay by Schenk and Kaytis. The characters appearing in ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ were originally created by Shepherd. The filmmakers acknowledge this by noting that the film is based on Shepherd’s 1966 book in the opening credits.

Most members of the original cast reprise their roles, though there are some exceptions. The film is dedicated to the memory of Darren McGavin, the veteran actor who portrays Ralphie’s father (The Old Man) in the original movie. McGavin passed away in 2006. He was 83 years old at the time.

Image Credit: Yana Blajeva/HBO Max

The HBO Max film is not by far the only sequel of ‘A Christmas Story,’ though it is the first film that brings most members of the main cast together. ‘A Christmas Story’ is actually the third entry in the multi-media ‘Ralph Parker’ franchise (alternatively known as the ‘Parker Family’ franchise), with ‘The Phantom of the Open Hearth,’ released in 1976, being the first one on the list.

 In an interview with Collider, Billingsley reflected on why he wanted to make the sequel after all these years. “I mean it’s been 39 years, so it’s quite a long time,” he said. “So I think, to some degree, now or never. I think the idea of Ralphie as a dad was a very intriguing thought. I had been approached about things. Nothing ever felt right. This one’s been in active development for four years, and a lot of the right pieces had to come together.”

Billingsley continued, “We really needed the resources to build the original house and the whole neighborhood. I got to work with Vince [Vaughn, co-producer] as a producer on this, which was awesome, and bring back the whole kid cast. So, it’s been a while that we’ve been working on it, and we didn’t feel comfortable saying yes till all the right pieces fell, and then Clay Kaytis came in, and then we said, ‘Okay, we have the confidence that this was the time to go now.’”

Billingsley told Whisky + Sunshine that he had been working on the project for four years. The film has multiple callbacks and easter eggs, but he ensured the story would not lean into them too much. To sum it up, while ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ has been developed with characters from a semi-autobiographical book, it is not based on a true story.

Read More: Where Was A Christmas Story Christmas Filmed?