NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION—Life Lessons We Learned from the Griswolds

A family photo of the Griswold family from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) in front of a fireplace decorated for Christmas with (left to right) Rusty (played by Johnny Galecki), Clark (played by Chevy Chase) and Ellen (played by Beverly D'Angelo) in the front row and Audrey (played by Juliette Lewis) standing behind them

Christmas is coming early to Regal this year with the 2019 Classic Holiday Movies Series featuring all of your favorite holiday classics, including the iconic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) back up on the big screen on December 21st! Starring the lovable lummox Clark Griswold and his hapless family, Christmas Vacation has become a holiday staple for a number of reasons: the over-the-top slapstick comedy, hilarious family antics, witty banter, and of course, the valuable life lessons we’ve all learned from watching the Griswolds maniacally band together every year. 

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When Clark’s plan to have the perfect family Christmas goes tragically wrong at every turn, we couldn’t help but take down a few notes. To better prepare you for this holiday season, we’ve made a short list of how you can prevent your Christmas from ending up like the Griswold’s. 

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How to NOT cook a turkey

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-cutting the turkey
(left to right) Clark, Sr. (John Randolph), Nora (Diane Ladd), Clark (Chevy Chase), Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), Art (E.G. Marshall), and Francis (Doris Roberts) in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Christmas dinner is easily one of the best parts of the holidays—if you have a good cook in the family, that is. After Clark gives his heartfelt toast and plunges the knife into what appears to be a delicious, golden-brown turkey, the bird opens up like something out of a Tim Burton movie and releases a dense cloud of smoke. With no meat in sight and a bone-dry exterior, this brittle carcass becomes a tasty metaphor for the hopeful dysfunction of the Griswold family. Let this be a friendly reminder to baste your turkey this year. 

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Don’t let your cat near the Christmas tree

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-cat

When it comes to cats, a Christmas tree is essentially one big cat condo; they’re fun to climb in, bat at, and, of course, chew on. When sweet, senile Aunt Bethany brings her cat over to the Griswold home wrapped in a gift box, it springs from its confinement to take refuge among the Christmas tree. When Clark goes to plug in the tree, with its excess lights and an overloaded electrical socket, he overloads it and not only does the tree not light up, but so does the cat. 

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It’s OK to say “No” to some family members

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-Chase, Quaid, and Flynn
(left to right) Clark (Chevy Chase), Cousin Eddie Johnson (Randy Quaid), and Cousin Catherine Johnson (Miriam Flynn) in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

We all have those family members that we tend to avoid for most of our lives, but Christmas is that special time of year when every member of the family seems to come out of the woodwork. For Clark, it’s his cousin Eddie. From his slobbering mutt to his front yard sewage draining, Eddie certainly makes himself right at home. In this time of goodwill and merriment, we can choose to put our differences aside and welcome these more. . . undesirable. . . family members with open arms—but there’s nothing wrong with drawing a few lines in the snow. 

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Measure twice, cut once 

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-cutting a tree
(left to right) Audrey (Juliette Lewis), Clark (Chevy Chase), Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), and Rusty (Johnny Galecki) in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

It’s a rule we have heard time and time again, yet seemed to have been lost on Clark—likely due to being blinded by his overzealous Christmas cheer. With eyes bigger than his stomach (or living room, in this case), Clark believes he has found the perfect “Griswold Family Christmas Tree.” With all of the antics surrounding the tree later on in the movie, getting it through his front door may be the least of Clark’s worries. 

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Do your Christmas shopping alone

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-Chase and Scorsese
Clark (Chevy Chase) and Mary (Nicolette Scorsese) in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

It’s hard enough to get all of your shopping done around the holiday season without getting pulled in by mall sales people every five minutes. For Clark, however, this may be the best part of his Christmas shopping. When he is caught red-handed “looking” at a gift for his loving wife, he has some serious explaining to do to his son. In order to keep your gift shopping a secret from your family, it’s probably for the best you do it alone. 

Every Movie Releasing In December 2019

If you want to catch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen this year, don’t miss your chance to see it at Regal on December 21st for just $5 per ticket! Happy Holidays from the Griswolds and everyone here at Regal. 

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