Starting with Black Friday, there is probably not a moment that goes by that a holiday movie is not being shown somewhere, sometime. Choosing a favorite could be difficult. Yet, for me, it’s not. I believe there are two types of people when it comes to Christmas movies.
Many of us love the season and we dive in head first right after Thanksgiving. For the next three weeks, craziness ensues. We are buying ugly sweaters and spend way too much money on gifts. We wait in lines for hours to get 55” TVs for $149.99. We flock to holiday parties. For some, plans are made months in advance. Our houses become shrines! On the outside, the number of lights appears directly tied to your interest in the holiday. The more lights, the more spirit! The more colors, the more spirit! Most of us want our house screaming to the neighbors “We love Christmas!” A wreath is placed on the front door as a gateway to even more spirit on the inside of the house.We enter our homes to a sea of red and green. Stockings are hung here; mistletoe is hung there. The most used room of the house becomes rearranged. For comfort, no … to make room for the greatest of all holiday symbols, the enormous Christmas tree. Covered in lights and ornaments, this tree will impede our vision of the TV for weeks. Most of us don’t care, it’s Christmas. For most of us, our favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Story.
Well, I am not most us.
While a good chunk of the country is overflowing with spirit and watching movies filled with tradition, the rest of us wonder “What’s the fuss?” For me and probably a few others, the family friendly holiday movie of choice has to be National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The third of the Vacation movies finds our lovable father of two, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), having the vacation brought to him.. The John Hughes-written film that reminds us what the holiday really are — a complete mess. While other movies focus on tradition, this film gives a view of the modern Christmas. A holiday that is one of traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to see family you don’t know, buying them things they don’t want and pretending that you really care.
Despite being made in 1989, the film holds up its end of the bargain of making me laugh out loud each time. Despite being with family and everybody generically enjoying the season … the theme of the film is summed up by Ellen, Clark’s patient wife played hilariously by Beverly D’ Angelo.. “It’s Christmas, and we’re all miserable”.