National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Review | Advent Film Calendar Day 21

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is an 80’s classic full of comedy and holiday truths for all the family.

This is one of my family’s favourite Christmas films because it’s more realistic than some of the others — stuff goes wrong and the celebrations are by no means perfect.

It all begins when Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) decides to host Christmas at home with the entire family invited. We first see him venture into the wilderness, with his wife and children, to retrieve this year’s tree… which is as tall as the ceiling and covers the entire car on the way home. (How he wasn’t pulled over, I’ll never know).

We’re taken through their advent calendar with a new mishap behind each door. From Clark almost dying by lights or sled, to his cousin in-law arriving unexpectedly and bringing even more problems; everything that could go wrong does and, simply put, it’s a disaster.

My personal favourite characters are Eddie (whose famous line is iconic and something you should discover on your own) and Clark’s aunt and uncle, Bethany and Lewis, who add to the craziness and charm. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll leave you to watch all the Griswold’s misfortunes yourself and decide if it reminds you of your home during the festive period.

Through it all, we see how hard Clark’s trying to make the ‘perfect Christmas’ for everyone, like most parents across the world. It’s something everyone tries to achieve every year, whether it be to bake a million cookies or have all your wrapping done by December 1st, we all put pressures on ourselves. But this movie shows that you can still celebrate with your family, even if the turkey is inedible or the tree gets burnt to a crisp. 

Maybe it’s my bias from growing up watching Christmas Vacation, or maybe the ridiculous humour and relatability really does bring some cheer to your living room.

Words by Erin Memmott.

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