1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of the most successful of the modern Christmas movies, offering up ninety minutes of nonstop holiday fun. Perhaps the best and most beloved of the Vacation films
Christmas Vacation stars Chevy Chase as family man Clark Griswold, obsessed with making this Christmas the best his family has ever seen. Though his intentions are just — if not a bit foolhardy — each attempt to inject holiday joy through the cozy confines of his suburban home leads only to one disaster after another. Clark remains mostly unaware of or indifferent to the problems, facing them with an almost childlike acceptance that they’re just part of the Christmas experience, and never does he allow a case of the “bah humbugs” to keep him from his noble goal. This enthusiasm falters, however, when his cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his clan show up uninvited to the Griswold home in an beater of a RV, planning to spend the entire holiday season with Clark and family. Making matters worse is a missing bonus check that threatens to destroy Clark’s secret plan to install a swimming pool in the back yard. In the end and in the true spirit of Christmas, Clark comes to realize that life’s best bonuses don’t necessarily come in the form of a corporate check.