There are many great movies that include Christmas as part of their story line. The homes that these stories take place in are integral to the plot and have become memorable themselves. One of the most famous homes is the Griswold's house in Christmas Vacation. This home looks like it could be on Edwards Street in Laconia but is actually located on Blondie Street in the Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California. The house has been used in a variety of films over the years and has been remodeled so many times that you would scarcely recognize it today.
Christmas Vacation celebrates Christmas and Chevy Chases's Clark Griswold quest to provide the perfect Christmas day in the perfectly decorated home. Clark and son Rusty spend day and night decorating the exterior of the home with thousands of lights only to find they won't work. Been there, done that? This hilarious movie provides many tips on decorating your home safely, solving electrical problems, proper ladder usage, cleaning ice out from gutters, removing drywall, and my favorite, doing fine trim work with a chainsaw. Clark, like many of us, overextends himself during the holidays by putting money down on an in-ground pool, only to find out that his stingy boss didn't give the usual big cash year-end bonus... alas, he was enrolled in the "Jelly of the Month" club instead.
Another wonderful story is set in a typical 1,792 square foot, four bedroom, two bath home at 3159 W11th St, in Cleveland Ohio. You might not recognize the address, but if you drove by the house and saw the stunning Leg Lamp in the front window, you would know that this is Ralphie's house from the 1983 movie Christmas Story. For those deprived souls that have never seen this movie – which seems nearly impossible – this is the story about the trials and tribulations of little nine year-old bespectacled Ralphie and his younger brother, Randy, growing up back in the 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana. More precisely, it is about Ralphie's goal of convincing the world – namely, his parents, his teacher, and Santa Claus – that a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle would be his perfect Christmas gift. Little brother Randy spends most of his time avoiding eating and falling into snowbanks. He always needs help getting up because he is stuffed in a snowsuit with too many clothes on and can hardly walk. Remember those days?
The story also touches on home maintenance. Ralphie's dad, known as Old Man Parker, has a long running battle with his coal furnace that keeps forming clinkers, rumbling and blowing back soot. He rushes to the basement, makes it two stairs, trips on some skates, and slides the rest of the way down causing a verbal assault against the malfunctioning furnace. As Ralphie puts it, "In the heat of battle, my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that, as far as we know, is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan." Perhaps a proper maintenance schedule would have been in order?
In the end, Ralphie does get the world's best Christmas present. He rushes outside for target practice wherein, predictably, the first shot ricochets back and hits his glasses, knocking them off. He panics thinking he has shot his eye out. He steps on his glasses and smashes them and then hysterically tells his mother that an icicle fell and hit him in the face. His biggest fear is that the Old Man will be mad at him and yell at him like he does at the furnace. Mom can see how distraught he is and helps cover for Ralphie with the Old Man. All is well. Noel, noel.
In December of 2004, the owner of The Red Rider Leg Lamp Company in San Diego and a lifelong fan of the film, Brian Jones, bought the house on eBay for $150,000. His company makes the replica Leg Lamp the Old Man had received as the "Major Award" from work. The previous owners had remodeled the home with modern windows and covered the original wood siding with blue vinyl siding. By watching the movie over and over, Jones was able to draw detailed plans and spent $240,000 to gut the structure and transform it to a near-replica of the movie set and restored the exterior back to the original appearance. The house is now a museum.
And, remember, home is where the holidays happen and memories are made. Other great Christmas homes from the flicks include the English cottage from 2006 film called the Holiday, with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, which was really just an exterior façade built in the English countryside. Then there is Chevy Chase's Cape Cod home in The Funny Farm, which was also filmed in 2006. This house is real and is located in Grafton, Vermont. And, of course, you have to acknowledge the stately brick Georgian colonial from the movie Home Alone located in Winnetka, Illinois. This 4,200 square foot, four bedroom home was built in 1920 and was put on the market back in 2011 for $2.5 million and after several years in the market, finally sold for $1.585 million.
So, whether you receive a Jelly of the Month Club subscription, a Leg Lamp or the coveted Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, remember, it really is the thought that counts.
There were 88 residential home sales in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average price came in at $297,347 and the median price point stood at $189,950. That's well above the 67 sales last November so it looks like we are having a well-deserved finish to an already strong year. Merry Christmas!
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 12/17/15. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012
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