Christmas Vacation (1989)

I read somewhere that Christmas Vacation (or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) is a must during the holidays. It's hilarious and easily one of the best Christmas comedies ever made, it said. It was true.

Clark Wilhelm Griswold Jr (Chevy Chase) is really into Christmas this year and wants to give his family the best Christmas ever. But things never run smoothly for Clark and his family, and, between his obnoxious guests and the bonus check that is not arriving, everything he wants to happen goes against his favour, and the disaster is just around the corner.

I gotta admit that the plot is rather simple and thin, and there are many clichés of the genre, but it has a nice flow and it's funny right from the beginning thanks to the many situations that play out.

One of the reasons this film works and others don't (Christmas with the Kranks to name one) is the characters. There are a lot of different people (there are too many characters though and it's difficult to remember them all), each with their own quirks and personalities, which makes it very easy to identify them in members of your family. 

Warner Bros.
And that's the other great thing about Chrismas Vacation, it's very easy to relate to the Griswold family. Although there isn't all that pressure to find the perfect Christmas tree here in Italy (actually, we usually have fake trees and use them every year, at least that's what my family and friends do), there's still plenty of things we feel like we must do at Christmas time, like decorating the tree, creating the Christmas crib and having family over for Christmas.

And then there's the comedy. As I mentioned above, there's plenty of hilarious scenes in the film, but the cast gets most of the job done. Chevy Chase's comic timing is perfect and he is very likeable as the family man who just wants to give his family their best Christmas ever. The supporting cast also does a great job. Beverly D'Angelo is perhaps even better than Chase and Clark's wife Ellen, and Randy Quaid is easily the one standing out as he delivers plenty of funny moments as cousin Eddie.


  1. We just watched it last night and we laugh every time. We have those annoying neighbours who I feel a Christmas tree up their butt would be great. William Hickey is excellent as the cranky Uncle and so is his wife who I think was Betty Boop back in the day. I could be wrong but she was quite pretty in the 20’s. We can all relate to a dry turkey..although not that dry. I loved the scene with the tobaggon and Randy Quaid talking about the metal plate in his head.

  2. I just rewatched this myself last weekend. When I had the relay, I was going to go with this, but opted for Bad Santa. This is a true Christmas gem.