Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Tradition: Hanging with the Griswold’s

My Christmas just isn’t complete unless I’ve watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at least once. I’ve spent time with the Griswold’s every holiday season for as long as I can remember, and although I can practically recite most of the lines in the film, it’s still as entertaining, funny and heart-warming as ever. Many movie fans will say It’s A Wonderful Life is their favourite holiday flick, or choose Home Alone or A Christmas Story as their Christmas comedy of choice (all great films too), but for me, Christmas Vacation is the one movie that gets watched every year without fail because I can’t imagine letting a Christmas go by without a dose of the Griswold’s.

I think the movie works because John Hughes managed to capture both the magic and the misery of a family Christmas. There’s truth and sincerity at the heart of it with nostalgic remembrances of past family traditions like cutting down a fresh Christmas tree, decorating one’s house with all of the trimmings and going sledding down snow-covered hills. Clark Griswold is earnest in wanting to deliver a classic family holiday for the people he loves. And though his plans go awry and all that he is able to deliver is chaos and mishap, his desire is true and the message of it all is very clear: we’ve all planned events that have fallen short of our expectations, but the people we spend time with are the point, not trying to plan and execute the perfect occasion.

So on Christmas day, I thought I’d devote a special scene stealer piece to my favourite holiday movie, but with a twist. Rather than pick just one stand-out scene, I’ve picked five scene stealers from a film that is the gift that keeps on giving by providing laughter and joy year after year.

5. 250 strands of lights

4. Uncle Lewis’ stogie causes an explosion and the Star-Spangled Banner

3. The Griswold Christmas dinner

2. Clark loses it

1. A squirrel wrecks havoc in the Griswold house

What are your favourite holiday movies? Let us know in the comments section.


  1. good call. i love this film. this is THE christmas movie in my opinion.

  2. There can't be Xmas without this film. It's a classic.

  3. @Phips - I'm glad I'm not the only one!!

    @thevoid99 - I couldn't agree more.

  4. Like It's A Wonderful Life, this movie didn't appear to be well received when first released but has grown such a large following over time and is still growing. It's now the unofficial standard for Christmas-themed comedies because every new attempt at holiday humor is compared to Christmas Vacation.

    Best moment not yet mentioned: Cousin Eddie explaining the side effects of his metal plate.

  5. @Ian Montgomery - I agree. I can't help but compare recent Christmas comedies (Four Christmases, Fred Claus, etc) to Christmas Vacation and no Christmas comedy has held a candle to it, in my opinion. It's set the bar very high!

    Any scene with Cousin Eddie is classic and hilarious.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.