A Christmas Store: Couple’s online business inspired by classic holiday film


As Christmas inches closer, people’s shopping lists grow. But where can the most unusual gift be found?

RetroFestive may be the answer.

Established in 2007 by husband and wife duo Tyler and Jordie Schwartz, RetroFestive.ca distributes directly from Oakville, and offers off-centre Christmas items, such as the leg lamp from A Christmas Story and moose mugs used in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

The leg lamp as seen in A Christmas Story.

The leg lamp as seen in A Christmas Story.

“We started really small,” said Jordie Schwartz. “We literally started selling leg lamps out of our garage, so it was very humble beginnings.”

Even though Jordie and Tyler didn’t meet until 2000, both had grown up watching A Christmas Story, a film that follows Ralph Parker as he tries his hardest to convince the grownups around him that he wants one thing and one thing only for Christmas – a Red Ryder BB Gun.

“I think we can both remember being kids and really wanting that one special thing for Christmas,” said Jordie Schwartz. “It makes us feel like we’re kids at Christmas again. Watching that movie growing up is a tradition for both of us, and the nostalgia of it all really hits home.”

The film proved to be highly influential for the couple, with the two of them even appearing

in a documentary about the film called Road Trip for Ralphie: A Christmas Story Documentary.

When Tyler Schwartz went on a hunt for his own leg lamp, he soon encountered difficulties

One of the many ugly Christmas sweaters offered at RetroFestive.

One of the many ugly Christmas sweaters offered at RetroFestive.

finding a Canadian distributor. As a result, the pair was inspired to start RetroFestive.

In addition to an online store that runs all year round and ships Canada-wide, there is also a showroom located in Oakville that is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day in November and December.

The online store and showroom features an impressive display of Christmas items, many of them kitschy, many of them nostalgic and some downright strange, such as the various flavours of candy canes that are offered.

Pickle-flavoured candy canes.

Pickle-flavoured candy canes.

“The pickle candy canes are quite tasty,” said Jordie Schwartz. “If you like dill pickle that is.”

This year, the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation moose mugs are RetroFestive’s bestseller, along with the leg lamps. The store also offers more than 20 different ugly Christmas sweaters, which Schwartz predicts will be sold out before the holiday begins.

The Schwartzs also appeared on the popular TV show Dragons’ Den.

“It was awesome,” said Jordie Schwartz. “We were both big fans of that show, so we were a little bit nervous going into it. Unfortunately we didn’t get a deal, but the Dragons were really nice to us.”  

While the couple failed to secure a deal, both Kevin O’Leary and Arlene Dickinson purchased A Christmas Story leg lamp after the show.

RetroFestive’s showroom can be visited at 1100 Invicta Drive, Unit 1, Oakville.