Based on 43 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 88%, with an average score of 8.3/10.
On December 24, 2007, AOL ranked the film their #1 Christmas movie of all time. IGN ranked the film the top holiday-themed movie of all time.
The film first aired on television on HBO during the mid-eighties and quickly attracted a growing following. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the film began airing quietly on SuperStation WTBS and Superstation WGN. From 1988-1992, the film had a short-lived tradition of airing on the American Thanksgiving night (or the night after Thanksgiving) to open the holiday television season. In 1988, then-fledgling FOX aired the movie the night after Thanksgiving. In 1989-1990, TBS showed it Thanksgiving night, while in 1991-1992, they aired it the night after.
Turner Broadcasting, now a part of the TimeWarner umbrella of cable networks, has maintained ownership of the broadcast rights, and since the mid-1990s, airing the movie increasingly on TBS, TNT and TCM. By 1995, it was aired on those networks a combined six times over December 24-25-26, and in 1996, it was aired eight times over those three days.
Due to the increasing popularity of the film, in 1997 TNT began airing a 24-hour marathon dubbed "24 Hours of A Christmas Story," consisting of the film shown twelve consecutive times beginning at 7 or 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and ending Christmas Day. This was in addition to various other airings earlier in the month of December. In 2004, after TNT switched to a predominantly drama format, sister network TBS, under its comedy-based "Very Funny" moniker, took over the marathon. Clark stated that in 2002, an estimated 38.4 million people tuned into the marathon at one point or another, nearly one sixth of the country. TBS reported 45.4 million viewers in 2005, and 45.5 million in 2006. In 2007, new all-time ratings records were set, with the highest single showing (8 p.m. Christmas Eve) drawing 4.4 million viewers. Viewership increased again in 2008, with 8 p.m. Christmas Eve drawing 4.5 million viewers, and 10 p.m. drawing 4.3 million.
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................