Make Your House A Christmas Story House – Part 1

blueprint-christmas-story-house

If you are visiting this site, chances are you are a fan of A Christmas Story and Christmas in general. We share that same passion so welcome. I blog about Leg Lamps and such but never really got down to spelling out exactly how someone can decorate their house for Christmas to look like a scene out of A Christmas Story. Well, now I will remedy that.

For me, decorating is more about Christmas lights and a leg lamp in a window (and in my case a leg lamp in the den, family room, bathroom and shed) it’s about a memorable scene for the neighbors, friends and family to stop and admire for a bit and remember what it was like to really enjoy Christmas decorating. And a wonderful aside for me is the chance to work with my family as we create the different props and characters for the scene. That said, I hope this inspires you to create your own Christmas Story House. So let’s get started.

Frageelay – The Leg Lamp Delivery Crate

It may seem daunting to take on all of these decorating ideas but I find it best to start small, see how this first leg lamp crate project goes and then decide how much more you want to take on. I make every attempt to do this on the cheap and if you have ideas for saving some money, please let me know.

Building the Fragile crate is nothing more than creating a box out of 2x4s and covering it with fence slats as you can see from my crude mockup:


fragile-major-award-crate

 

I made my crate out of

  • 4 – 4ft long 2x4s
  • 4 – 2ft long 2x4s

I connect them with strong tie board connectors (which you can kind of see in the picture. This is just easier than nailing or screwing them end-to-end. Once you get all of that connected you have the skeleton of the leg lamp crate! Now comes the easy part, covering it with fence pickets.

I just get run-of-the-mill fence pickets from any big box store like Menards (where I can roam around looking at Christmas lights and decorations) or Home Depot in 4ft heights (to match the size of the 2×4 skeleton. Then, commence nailing the fence pickets to the box skeleton until the entire face of it is covered.

A Few Options for Your Leg Lamp Crate

  • Add simple hinges to one side of the box so you can easily open the crate like a door
    • By doing this, you can fill it with foam peanuts (as they did in the movie) and then spread some of the foam peanuts at the base of the crate to make it look like the leg lamp has already been removed
      • Wind will be a factor if you do this, so it is a good idea to get some white cotton cloth (like the stuff you would use to decorate village scenes) and then glue or affix the foam peanuts to the cloth. That way the peanuts stay in place and the background looks realistic
  • The leg lamp crate would not be complete without the word FRAGILE painted on the front and back. Here are a few ways to do it:
    • You can find some durable, weatherproof printer paper at an office supplies store and then just print out the letters one by one to make them readable from a distance
    • You could make a stencil and cut out the letters before taping to the crate
      • Once taped to the crate, simply use black spray paint to fill in the stencil
        Fragile Leg Lamp Crate
    • Or, if you have a steady hand, just freeform the word Fragile all over the create with black paint

Display your Frageelay Leg Lamp Crate

So, all the work is now done…great job! You have transformed some simple materials into a movie replica. Allow yourself some time to gloat. Now you need to figure out where to display the crate. Hmmmm, I have some ideas:

  • If you have a large window in which your leg lamp is displayed, place the crate next to the lamp to complete the scene
  • If you have a front porch or some area in front of the house, lean the box against a wall and up light it with a flood light
  • If you have the inflatable leg lamp on your front lawn, lay the crate down next to it and make it appear as if the Old Man has just opened his major award and proudly displayed it himself!

Use a little creativity and elbow grease and you will have yourself the start of a great A Christmas Story House.

How’d that go? Wasn’t too difficult to make the lag lamp crate, was it. Did you have an easier process? Either way, I trust that the crate is now part of your display. But what is a crate without the rest of A Christmas Story cast? Excellent question! Next, let’s move on to creating a lifetime replica of Ralphie in the Bunny Costume as we create a deranged Easter Bunny for your display.

“You Look Like a Deranged Easter Bunny” – Damn Right I Do!

You may be asking yourself how the heck you will pull this off, but just go with me. Just like the leg lamp crate, it’s all in the skeleton. What better way to start than with PVC and a child sized Ralphie as an Easter Bunny costume.

The deranged bunny costume I have in mind fits a kid about 4 feet tall with the slippers coming in at size 8. Now that we have the rough sizing for the costume, we can spec out the dimensions for the PVC. Head on down to your big box store and grab some PVC. Make sure it isn’t too thin and flimsy because it has to hold up the costume to look realistic. I went with 1/2 inch PVC pipe for my Ralphie replica.

You are essentially making a stick figure out of PVC per the below mockup.

I made my Ralphie out of

  • 6 – 90 degree connectors
  • 2 – T connectors
  • 2 – 10ft length of 1/2 PVC pipe
  • PVC primer & glue

I cut the 10 ft PVC into the following lengths:

  • 3 – 2ft lengths (for the legs and torso)
  • 4 – 1ft lengths (for the shoulders and arms)
  • 1 – 6in length for the neck

Here is how I laid out the PVC

 Ralphie deranged easter bunny

Reminder, it doesn’t need to be pretty or perfect since it will be covered with the bunny costume, padding and whatever else you can cook up. It just needs to be sturdy. What of teh head, you may be asking. Good point, I chose to go with a child mannequin head (you can choose plastic or foam for whatever fits your budget) from Amazon or beauty supply stores (I am NOT ashamed to admit I knew that). To finish off Ralphie, just find some cheapo glasses at Goodwill or a Dollar Store and mask the mannequin head as best you can…it works wonders.

Ralphie’s Been Framed!

Now we need to dress this thing up in the bunny costume. But, wait, the costume will look limp if I just dress it to the skinny PVC frame. So, here are a few choices to pump up Ralphie:

  • Wrap newspapers around the PVC frame and duct tape the whole shebang together to give an appearance of bulk
  • Use foam batting from a craft store and wrap that around the PVC frame
  • Find some old towels or bed sheets and zip tie or tie them to the frame

As you can see, you will need to keep this bunny dry…so, again, be creative with where you place him and make sure there is an overhang or porch for Ralphie to hide under.

After you have wrapped the PVC frame to add bulk, NOW you can dress it in the deranged bunny costume. The costume I have has a zip front just like the footy pajamas I had as a kid. So unzip that pink abomination and carefully dress the frame. Once you get the costume on, adjust the newspaper/towels/sheets or whatever you used to add bulk so Ralphie seems realistic and not bulging here, flat there. When you get it all set to the point where you are happy, then move to the head. For hands, I just filled some old gloves with newspaper and zip tied the gloves to the end of the PVC arms. I just have the fingers barely visible to give the appearance of hands…rather than trying to mimic a full-on human hand.

Put the mannequin head on the PVC neck piece. I just cut a hole in the base of the mannequin head and “screwed” it onto the PVC to get it to stay. Put the cheapo glasses on the mannequin head, pull up the bunny hood and voila, you have a deranged Easter bunny replica to accompany your leg lamp create!