10 Life Lessons from National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation”

Hint: Emptying “the shitter” isn’t one of them.

Rose Bak

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Christmas Vacation movie advertisement, distributed by Warner Bros.

I’m not much for celebrating holidays, but I do love a holiday movie. One of my favorites is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, a film which you might be surprised to learn is a treasure trove of life lessons that we can all learn from.

First, if you’re not familiar with the movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a holiday comedy that tells the story of suburban father Clark Griswold, a man who just wants to have a nice “old fashioned family Christmas”, but can’t catch a break.

Written by John Hughes, the 1989 film has a powerhouse ensemble cast that includes Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Johnny Galecki, Diane Ladd, and many more comedy favorites.

Christmas Vacation movie advertisement, distributed by Warner Bros.

Here are ten important life lessons you’ll learn by watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation:

  1. Don’t spend your bonus before you get the check. In the film, the family patriarch Clark Griswold decides to spend his annual holiday bonus to purchase a swimming pool for his family. He puts down a deposit that he doesn’t have money for, figuring he’ll deposit his bonus check to cover it. Unfortunately, his boss has eliminated bonuses this year.
  2. Sometimes the solution to a problem is the most obvious one. Clark and his son spent countless hours hanging holiday lights and creating a Christmas display in their yard, only to be stymied by the lights refusing to come on. He tries solution after solution to no avail. In the end, his wife realizes that the problem is he didn’t turn on the light switch connected to the outlets he’s using.
  3. You can’t rush a turkey. Clark’s holiday turkey is ruined when his wife’s cousin cooks it at too high of heat in an effort to speed up the cooking time. The result is a ruined turkey. Turkeys take time, cook them carefully.
  4. You can’t escape karma. The Griswolds live next door to one of those snobby yuppie couples that think they’re better than everyone else. When they mock Clark for…

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who lives in Oregon. Find her at https://linktr.ee/rosebak or follow @authorrosebak on social media.