Bennett Fort ’19


Every year, on Christmas Eve, part of my family gathers together for a long-standing tradition of ours.  And I’m not talking about Christmas Eve dinner; I’m talking about when we sit down to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Now, for those of you who haven’t seen Christmas Vacation, first off, what are you doing with your holiday season?  Go out and watch it with your family, unless most of your family is below the age of five, then maybe not.  However, I did watch it for the first time when I was five.  Also, if your favorite Christmas movie is Elf, re-evaluate your life.  But back to the topic at hand, Christmas Vacation is a sequel to the classic comedy Vacation and stars the one, the only, Chevy Chase.  So, the film revolves around the Griswold family getting all of their immediate relatives together for Christmas.  However, what would be a fun, bonding time for most families is one of the worst Christmases the Griswolds have ever had.  From unexpected guests (police, aunts, uncles, hated parents), to forgetting a chainsaw when going to pick up the Christmas tree, the Griswolds experience a series of unfortunate events that are always funny to those outside of the family: we viewers.

Now, earlier I said I saw this for the first time when I was probably five years old, which was not the best idea because I remember, after I watched a second and third time, I decided it would be a great idea to repeat most of the vulgar lines out loud.  Let’s just say I got a firm talking to.  But, I always enjoy how it has been a staple of my Christmases throughout the years, with my grandparents, at least one of my parents, my brother, one of my uncles, and our cousins all coming together for something that connects us.  I often feel the need to repeat lines at the exact time that they are said, much to the dismay of my brother, and I always laugh at parts that should have gotten old by now.  But, they never do, mostly because of the real reason why Christmas Vacation is the best Christmas movie.

A few weeks ago, I decided it would be interesting to see what kind of reviews it received back in 1989.  Much to my surprise, it sits at a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.  However, that is with critics; 89% of audiences enjoyed it.  But it has become more than just a movie to my family: it has become a tradition.  The tradition is what makes the movie so great.  The movie is forever connected with happy memories of my family all sitting together watching another family be together, much to our amusement.  We always laugh together, and it even finds its way into some of the other things we do, like when we pick up our Christmas tree, and I always use lines from it that apply to the current situation. Everything about the movie will always be linked to happy times with the rest of the family.  When I grow older and have kids and decide to show the movie to them, I will remember back to the first time I watched it, under demand of my grandfather, and how that moment has led to making sure it’s linked with happy memories with my kids as well.  Christmas Vacation is more than just a Christmas movie a memorable christmas movie; it is actually just a funny vehicle for forming new experiences with my family and remembering old ones.