All the thoughts I had while watching “Christmas Vacation” as an adult

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. I have watched it for years. For some unknown reason, I watched it as a kid with my family, despite the occasional strong language and adult themes and general inappropriate-ness of this movie for viewers under the age of, what, 25?

But nevertheless, up there with “A Muppet Christmas Carol”, “A Christmas Story”, “Elf”, “Love Actually”, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Christmas Vacation” is one of my “it’s not Christmas without this movie” movies of the season.

So this year, now that I’m a parent and it’s part of my duties to host a good, old-fashioned family Christmas at my own house, I wanted to catalog my thoughts of watching this movie. We poured some eggnog and settled in for some of the best 97 minutes of the season.

Without further ado, here they are. All the thoughts I had while watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” as an adult.


  1. Oh my goodness gracious I am so excited for this.
  2. Chris and I are now having a debate on who is Ellen and who is Clark. So far I’m Ellen and Chris is Clark.
  3. The debate is raging as we start involuntarily dancing to the opening credits song. This is the most boogie-filled debate I have ever had. I think all the presidential debates should take note: boogie+debate=ratings-booster. 
  4. How has this song not been added to every classic Christmas songs playlist? This is a wrong I shall now aim to fix.  
  5. What mountains are there in Illinois? Where are they? This is one hell of a Christmas tree farm day trip to Colorado.
  6. Wait, is Russ played by Leonard Hofstadter from Big Bang Theory?!
  7. Yup, definitely Leonard Hofstadter. How did I not notice this before?
  8. look A Deer“Hey kids look! A deer!” Already I am getting driving tips with kids. I am officially filing this movie under “educational” from now on.
  9. “Liver lips” is an insult that needs to be brought back.
  10. Was liver lips ever an insult that was used popularly?
  11. This driving scene with the truck driver makes me think that Chris is actually Clark. Point Chris.
  12. “Didn’t people invent Christmas tree lots so they wouldn’t have to freeze to death and waste an entire Saturday?” Hm, maybe I’m Russ, not Ellen. Dark horse candidate, I like it. 
  13. “Hey Griswold, where you gonna put a tree that big?” “Bend over and I’ll show you!” Clark Griswold is definitely Chris’ inner monologue. Another point Christ.
  14. little full lotta sap“Little full, lotta sap,” reminds me of Chris’ insistence on getting “the biggest tree on the lot because it’s Christmas, damnit!” this year despite all our Christmas decorations being in storage in North Carolina still and us having to go and buy an inordinate amount of new decorations now. 
  15. Oh look! It’s downtown Chicago! Yay Chicago!
  16. Why would anyone want an in-ground pool in Chicago? Is this also going to double as an ice-skating rink the other 11 months a year? I am sitting here in 12 layers and a blanket in December and an in-ground swimming pool is literally the last thing on my mind for my house.
  17. Oh shots of Chicago again! Yay Chicago!
  18. clark ogglingClark Griswold is a dirty old man hitting on this store associate. A dirty, dirty, dirty old man. 
  19. This calm before the storm when family arrives scene continues to be perfection.
  20. Julia Louis-Dreyfus can do no acting wrong. I’ve declared it to be official.
  21. Why do these yuppie childless characters live in the burbs anyhow? 
  22. Is Clark seriously stapling the lights up? Is that how it used to be done in the 80s? When my parents made me dangle from the roof hanging lights up as a child we had to use these special clips that hooked into the roof. 
  23. Hm, I may need to Google “child endangerment laws Christmas lights hanging” later.
  24. Oh, who am I kidding, I’d probably be stapling at this point too. Okay, maybe I’m Clark.
  25. kicking christmas lights25,000 lights on the Griswold house. I really need to step up my game.
  26. I adore all the grandparents’ hard liquor drinks in their pajamas outside. #grandparentsquadgoals
  27. Speaking of, more egg nog, please
  28. Clark watching old films from Christmases past is making me tear up. Damnit, the tides are turning. I may be Clark.
  29. “Do you honestly think I would check thousands of tiny little lights before I would check if the extension cord was plugged in?” should probably be in some sort of bible as a parable.
  30. God their house is magnificent when it’s lit up. #christmassquadgoals
  31. Clark kicking the Christmas decorations is all of us. ALL OF US.
  32. clark seeing lights on with plugAnd so is his final victory in getting the house lit.
  33. “Thanks Dad! You taught me everything I know about exterior illumination!” is potentially the most hidden sweetest line of the movie.
  34. “Surprised, Eddy? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.” I am logging this line away for any time Connor does anything I can’t believe just happened.
  35. christmas antler mugs

    No seriously, where can you get these glasses?

    Where can you get antler Walley World glasses? My egg nog seems woeful now that I know I could be drinking it out of an antler glass from Walley World.

  36. “Can I refill your egg nog? Get you something to eat? Drive you out the middle of nowhere…leave you for dead…” Goodness I love you, Clark.
  37. Yay! More shots of Chicago! John Hancock tower! How come he worked in Daley Plaza in the Loop before? Is this something only Chicago residents notice?
  38. “Every time Katherine would run the microwave I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for half an hour or so.” This seems like an excellent alternative to eggnog during the holidays.
  39. This is the longest sled run in the history of sled runs. What hill is this in Illinois? Seriously. I need to know. Immediately. Or did they take a day trip out to Colorado again to go sledding?
  40. If Clark is in debt with the pool, I feel that maybe spending $12,000 a day to power his Christmas light spectacular could potentially be on the “hmmm, maybe dial it back a bit for the budget” list. But what do I know?
  41. merry christmas shitter was full“Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn, clean, cool chill of the holiday air, and an asshole in his bathroom emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer.” I will never not almost fall off the couch crying with laughter at this line.
  42. Someday I hope to lead the family grace with the Pledge of Allegiance. Just to keep people on their toes.
  43. You go, Ellen.

    You go, Ellen.

    Ellen’s top is rather busty for a family affair. Damn girl.

  44. This dry turkey is all of us who has ever been in charge of a family meal who can otherwise prepare edible food the other 364 days a year.
  45. “Halleluiah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?!” Clark, I get you. You and I, we get each other. I am Clark.
  46. No wait, Ellen throwing her eggnog into the bushes in exasperation of Clark losing his ish is me.
  47. A random woodland critter attacking in the middle of an otherwise peaceful respite is simply perfection. Every year I expect this to happen to me, especially after my bird incident.
  48. Clark’s solution of, “I’m going to throw this blanket over it and kill it with a hammer!” could not be more Chris. In fact, he is sitting next to me baffled right now as to why this isn’t a reasonable solution to a random animal running around your house.
  49. Here is is. This is it. Yup, just as magnificent as ever. This line is why I watch this movie year after year:
    christmas vacation epic quote“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”
  50. “I’m sorry, this is our family’s first kidnapping.” Final judgment: I’m Ellen. 
  51. As an adult and now homeowner I can’t help but tally up that the extra 20% of the bonus he’s receiving should cover approximately 10% of the damages he caused to his and his neighbor’s house in trying to make this good old-fashioned family Christmas.
    1. 6-7 broken windows
    2. Broken bannister from the saw
    3. Destroyed kitchen door
    4. Attic floor collapsing
    5. All fine china and china cabinet
    6. Removal of 12,000 staples from roof and subsequent roof damage
    7. Any and all damages to Elaine Benis’ Julia Louis Dreyfus’ whatever Julia Louis Dreyfus’ character’s name is’ house
  52. Singing “The Star Spangled Banner” at Christmas is now a must-do in my book.
  53. Best. Adult. Holiday. Movie. Ever.
  54. More eggnog? 

christmas vacation end

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