2018-12-06 / Views

Legend of Leg Lamp continues at Campbells

A column by Alan Campbell


DEBRA CAMPBELL found an appropriate place for her family’s Leg Lamp. DEBRA CAMPBELL found an appropriate place for her family’s Leg Lamp. The Leg Lamp.

No other secular object associated with Christmas elicits the emotional punch I get from the leg lamp.

It represents a family tradition that surpasses socks hung on the fireplace mantle and the hanging of Christmas lights.

Right now, though, it wouldn’t take much for me to forget about Christmas lights. I had them strung atop our front porch with care long before Thanksgiving — that’s kindof mandatory in our household for a magical ticket to deer hunt — only to have one row blow.

Then Rudolph, the grapevine deer I wrapped several years ago in white Christmas lights, stayed dark. Now he’s rewrapped and once again ready to guide.

I replaced the first row of front porch Christmas lights only to have them blow again. With deer season over, my incentive to quickly replace lights has faded. I’ll get to it. Promise.

So in my book, the Leg Lamp — that reliable yet sexy symbol of the season — has increased her already sizable popularity lead over other Christmas decorations.

Perhaps you saw the Leg Lamp years ago when driving in December by the Leelanau Enterprise, where she occupied a prominent place in the picture window facing M-204. Not quite Higbee’s, but pretty good for Lake Leelanau.

About three years ago Deb found a place in our living room for the lamp, and it’s been a seasonal visitor to our home ever since.

The lamp has enjoyed an idolized life since unveiled in the 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story.” If you haven’t seen the movie in its entirety, I’ll bet you’ve flipped through scenes. It’s broadcast continuously over a 24-hour marathon on TBS.

Enterprise composition manager Mike Anderson and family spent a day at the home where the movie was shot. Forward-thinking entrepeneurs turned the home into a museum too tempting for the Andersons to miss while in Cleveland.

“We love that movie so much it would be worth the trip even if we weren’t already there,” Mike recalled.

The Leg Lamp shines brightly from the living room. I asked Mike if it was the original lamp, and he just smiled.

“Of course not. That one broke,” he said.

You need to see the movie.

I love our Leg Lamp because it was a first (and last?) for me — getting Deb a Christmas gift that she still appreciates.

Gifting the lamp took the same level of plotting required by Ralphie to order a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring. I bought the full-size leg lamp and scrapwood box appropriately market Fragile — uncommon pronunciation

— online. It was shipped to the Enterprise, hidden by staff, and then sunk into my pile of junk in the garage. We had steps leading directly from the garage to our lowest level, where there was a television.

I admired the package, but did not touch. I had bigger plans for the reveal.

As is our family tradition, after unwrapping gifts we sat around watching the movie.

Eventually I retreated to the garage. Then I was “thump-thumping” the box down the stairs and toward the basement television.

You guessed it.

As the Old Man was crow-barring off the lid to his major award, so was I.

Unlike Ralphie’s mother, Mrs. Campbell was quite amused. And son Cody was shaking his head at me, a nuance that he’s perfected in the years since.

I admit to being downtrodden this year when Deb was considering leaving the Leg Lamp off our Christmas decorations list.

But she recanted. I think deep down she, too, loves the Leg Lamp.

And all it means at Christmas.

Return to top