National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is the simple, and somewhat crazy, story of a father trying his best to resurrect the Christmas' of his childhood. A house full of close and extended family, enjoying one another's company, recalling old memories, and continuing traditions on from one generation to the next. From the very start however Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, gets way more than he bargained for. In his continuing efforts to give everyone in his family, and himself, satisfied he drives himself crazy. If you've seen any other Vacation movie you know Griswold always shoots for the stars and his ambition is always his downfall. You'll also know his usually finds out the best things in life are already around you, warts and all. Christmas Vacation is know different.
To start Clark is planning to have his parents, in-laws too, stay at his house through the Christmas holiday. He's absolutely over doing his lights, the twinkling imported ones, and covering the house in decorations. For the perfect tree he hustles his family out into the woods, nearly killing them underneath a truck, and rips one out of the ground. And that's not including his Scrooge of a boss, his idiot cousin, his hipster neighbors, the dog, the cat, the squirrel, or the SWAT team.
The misadventures are a part of the fun of the movie but if you're forced to spend time with your family, especially bigger ones, you'll quickly find way too much truth in some of these scenes. Snide, side of the mouth, comments as you're trying to give them another piece of Christmas magic, even if that magic is a horribly overdone exterior light display. Maybe after slaving over dinner prepartions you suddenly realize your great aunt's jello mold isn't up to par, or someone over cooked the turkey. Or maybe someone kidnaps your boss. No family gathering is a Norman Rockwell painting. They're filled with past life judgments and past prejudices all contained within a stubborn and old body which can't be changed.
What Clark eventually learns after the sewer outside his house explodes is you do get out of Christmas is what you make of it. For Clark those old images of his family get togethers weren't perfect but as a kid that's not what he cared about. Having his family around, having a fresh snow fall to play in, and having his dad read the 'Night Before Christmas' on Christmas Eve was all he really ever wanted. Things didn't stay the same for Clark but after a lot of blood, sweat, and bottles of Jack Daniels he got what he really wanted. A happy family all under one roof, mostly, enjoying one another's company.
Another Christmas movie pick: Jingle All The Way
Another Christmas movie pick: White Christmas
Another Christmas movie pick: Love Actually