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The Pow Wow

The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 8: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after defeating the Washington Huskies 34-13 in the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 8, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

A Christmas Classic That Will Be Remembered for Ages
(National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation theatrical release poster by Chris Consani)
(National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation theatrical release poster by Chris Consani)

(This review is spoiler-free.)

 With Christmas just around the corner, many families are looking for Christmas movies to watch together to heighten their holiday spirits. Maybe it’s a movie they watch yearly as a tradition; for others, they might look for new ones to add fresh experiences to their memories. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, is an iconic, timeless Christmas film that has made itself part of many families’ yearly Christmas traditions (and, for those who haven’t seen it, is a great one to consider watching this year).

 Christmas Vacation is a comedy/family movie about the ambitious- if somewhat boneheaded- Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), a father trying to make his family have the best Christmas they’ve ever had as their relatives stay at his house for the month. However, nothing seems to ever go as planned; things go wrong almost instantly as they crash their car in the snow trying to find a tree to bring home, with the tree they finally choose being drastically too large to fit in their living room (leading to windows breaking open as they attempt to make it fit). The family members show up and bicker, making the already small house feel crowded, but Clark is determined to make this the greatest Christmas yet.

 Things progressively spiral more and more out of Clark’s control as he tries and fails to improve his Christmas experience. He buys thousands of Christmas lights to string on his small home, causing a power outage in his neighborhood when his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) manages to get them working. Then, out of nowhere, Ellen’s country-dwelling cousin and her husband, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) arrive unannounced with their children and dog, much to the annoyance of Clark. Soon after, Clark’s aging Aunt Bethany (Mae Questel) and Uncle Lewis (William Hickey) arrive at the house. With Clark’s aunt and uncle being blunt and slow in their old age and Cousin Eddie not quite grasping the expected etiquette of staying in another person’s house, they end up causing even more problems.

 The film’s most impressive feat is the way it starts off hilarious and only gets funnier as it goes on. As all of his plans cause increasingly severe disasters, Clark, starting the film beaming and confident, slowly loses his mind. The story manages to balance feeling sympathy for Clark while also being able to laugh at his torment; after all, much of his misfortune is his own fault. Despite all of the disaster (to an often injurious degree), Christmas Vacation stays feeling wholesome, making it a favorite among families. (However, it should be noted that there are some cases of swearing, violence, and suggestive scenes that may make you want to wait until your kids are old enough to handle it.)

 With memorable characters and joke after joke that hits you hard every time, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a very fun movie to get you in the Christmas spirit, even if you don’t want your holiday to go quite the same way as the Griswolds. Available on Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more, this film has remained in people’s memories and made itself a classic for good reason.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Dykes, Writer
Charlotte Dykes is a 17-year-old senior at Bonner Springs High School. She is involved in the school's Scholars Bowl and is a member of the local orchestra. She enjoys analyzing media as well as writing her own stories. In her free time, other than writing, she enjoys playing video games, drawing, and hanging out with her friends.

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