8 ‘Christmas Vacation’ Moments That Sum Up Your Family’s Holiday Season

Some people embrace the holiday season with open arms, their cheer only strengthened by shopping lists, tree trimming, and the like. Others feel weighed down by social commitments, annoyed by the hoards of shoppers, and stressed out by all of that family time. But you know what both groups can agree on this time of year? A little movie from 1989 called Christmas Vacation.

Unlike Christmas songs, most Christmas movies don’t try to sugarcoat the season, and that’s what makes Christmas Vacation so relatable — it doesn’t sugarcoat a damn thing. Yes, there are heartwarming moments of familial love and joy. But there’s also Clark Griswold kicking a Santa figurine across the lawn, and Ellen secretly smoking in the kitchen.

If your family’s like mine, it just doesn’t feel like the holidays without them.

1. Every gathering begins with dangerously high expectations.

christmas vacation clark ellen griswold bed

Photo source: Rotten Tomatoes

Ellen: You set standards that no family activity can live up to.

Clark: When have I ever done that?

Ellen: Parties, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays…

Clark: Goodnight, Ellen.

Ellen: Vacations, graduations…

2. The relatives start to arrive and you suddenly remember why you only see some of these people once a year.

christmas vacation uncle lewis aunt bethany
Photo source: Hark

Uncle Lewis: Hey Grizz, Bethany and I figured out the perfect gift for you.

Clark: Aw, you didn’t have to get me anything.

Uncle Lewis: Dammit, Bethany, he guessed it.

3. Despite any complaints, you still try to see the bright side.
christmas vacation ellen smoking kitchen misery

Photo source: The Thought Experiment

Audrey: Do you sleep with your brother? Do you know how sick and twisted that is?

Ellen: Well, I’m sleeping with your father. Don’t be so dramatic.

4. You pour yourself a drink to relax, but whoops! There goes that filter.

christmas vacation clark eddie egg nog
Photo source: HelloGiggles

Clark: Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Eddie: Naw, I’m doing just fine, Clark.

5. The holiday dinner never, ever goes quite as planned.

Clark: Catherine, if this turkey tastes half as good as it looks, I think we’re all in for a very big treat.

6. You might say some things in the heat of the moment that sound a little harsh.

christmas vacation clark threshold hell
Photo source: OK Movie Quotes

Ellen: Clark, I think it’d be best if everyone went home… before things get worse.”

Clark: WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.

7. Especially when your cousin takes a joke about a gift idea way too literally.

christmas vacation eddie boss bow
Photo source: Gravitas Ventures

Eddie: Merry Christmas, Clark! You about ready to do some kissin’?

8. But really, now that you’re surrounded by these loveable bunch of loons who’d do anything for you, would you have it any other way?

christmas vacation family outside sky
Photo source: Bloguin

Clark: “It’s the Christmas Star. And that’s all that matters tonight. Not bonuses or gifts or turkeys or trees. You see kids, it mean something different to everybody. And now I know what it means to me.”

All quotes taken from the Christmas Vacation IMDB page.

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