Christmas Vacation

Chaotic, festive, slapstick, zany, dysfunctional, iconic, comedic, memorable, over-the-top, satirical, outrageous, uproarious, heartwarming, quirky, classic, mishap-filled and joyful. Those words all describe one movie.

Here’s a couple of quotes for you.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, and forgive my husband, he knows not what he does.”

“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here.”

Only one movie meets all of the above.

Welcome to Christmas. National Lampoons Christmas.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a timeless holiday classic that has been entertaining audiences since its release in 1989. Directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and written by John Hughes, this comedy film is the third instalment in the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series. Starring Chevy Chase as the bumbling yet loveable Clark Griswold, the movie has become a staple in the hearts of many during the festive season.

The film begins with the Griswold family, headed by the ever-optimistic Clark W. Griswold, preparing for the perfect family Christmas. Clark’s enthusiasm for the holidays knows no bounds, as he dreams of creating a magical and memorable celebration for his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and their two children, Rusty (Johnny Galecki) and Audrey (Juliette Lewis). However, as with many of Clark’s grand plans, chaos and hilarity ensue.

One of the film’s highlights is Clark’s determination to have the perfect Christmas tree. In true Griswold fashion, he decides to cut down a tree himself, dragging the family on a wild adventure to find the ideal specimen. From the moment he sets eyes on the enormous tree, the audience knows that disaster is just around the corner. The humour arises not only from the absurdity of the situation but also from the relatability of Clark’s well-intentioned yet misguided efforts to create holiday magic.

Of course, we can all relate to the chaos of Christmas when the house is full of relatives. The Griswold house is no different as both sets of parents arrive for the holidays. Each set of parents with their own quirks and tensions as they try to navigate life under the same roof.


The chaos continues as Clark attempts to hang the Christmas lights on the house. Frustration builds as he battles with faulty lights, tangled cords, and his own clumsiness. The iconic scene of Clark perched precariously on the roof, attempting to secure the lights while receiving a shock, is both slapstick comedy and a metaphor for the struggles many face in trying to achieve the elusive “perfect” holiday.

The Griswold family’s misadventures don’t stop there. Enter Cousin Eddie, played brilliantly by Randy Quaid, a character who has become synonymous with the Vacation series. Eddie, along with his quirky family, arrives unannounced in their dilapidated RV, adding a new layer of chaos to the already tumultuous Griswold household. Eddie’s sheer lack of awareness and social grace, combined with his unfiltered commentary, provides some of the film’s most memorable and laugh-out-loud moments.

The comedy in “Christmas Vacation” also derives from the relatable stress and pressures associated with the holiday season. Clark’s interactions with his snobbish neighbours, Todd and Margo Chester, serve as a humorous commentary on the expectations and social norms surrounding Christmas. Todd and Margo, played by Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, represent the more conventional and polished side of the holiday experience, providing a stark contrast to the Griswold family’s comically chaotic approach.

Amidst the laughter and mayhem, “Christmas Vacation” manages to capture the heartwarming essence of the holiday spirit. Despite the numerous setbacks and obstacles, Clark remains unwavering in his commitment to creating a joyful and memorable Christmas for his family. Chevy Chase’s portrayal of Clark Griswold strikes a perfect balance between endearing optimism and exasperated frustration, making him a character that audiences can’t help but root for.

The film’s success can be attributed to the talented ensemble cast, led by Chevy Chase, whose comedic timing and physical humour elevate the script to a level of enduring hilarity. Beverly D’Angelo delivers a charming performance as Ellen, portraying the perfect foil to Clark’s antics. The chemistry between the two leads anchors the film, providing a genuine and heartwarming foundation amid the chaos

The script, penned by the prolific John Hughes, showcases his knack for capturing the nuances of family dynamics and the absurdities of everyday life. Hughes infuses the film with sharp wit, clever dialogue, and a keen understanding of the universal challenges associated with the holiday season. The combination of Hughes’ writing and Chevy Chase’s comedic prowess results in a film that transcends its genre, appealing to audiences of all ages.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” has endured as a holiday classic because it taps into the shared experiences and emotions associated with the Christmas season. Whether it’s the stress of family gatherings, the pursuit of the perfect Christmas tree, or the inevitable mishaps that accompany holiday decorations, the film resonates with viewers on a personal level. Everyone can relate to something in this movie. The Griswold family’s misadventures serve as a humorous reminder that, despite our best efforts, the holiday season is often a messy and imperfect affair – and that’s precisely what makes it special.

The film’s enduring popularity is evident in its continued presence on television screens during the holiday season. Year after year, families gather to watch and rewatch the Griswold family’s escapades, creating a tradition that spans generations. The film’s timeless humour, combined with its heartwarming message about the importance of family and embracing imperfection, cements its place as a cherished part of the holiday cinematic landscape.

In conclusion, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a comedic masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Its enduring appeal lies in its ability to blend uproarious humour with genuine sentiment, offering audiences a hilarious and heartwarming depiction of the holiday season. Chevy Chase’s iconic portrayal of Clark Griswold, coupled with John Hughes’ sharp writing, creates a film that continues to bring joy and laughter to audiences, making it a beloved classic that will undoubtedly remain a holiday favorite for years to come.