A Griswold Family Christmas

Every family has their fave Christmas movie they watch every year without fail.  It’s tradition!  For many, that movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street.”  Both are fantastic movies that I absolutely find time to watch over the holidays.

But for my family, the yearly tradition is “Christmas Vacation.”

With lines like:

“Shitter was full!” 


“Griswold, where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big?”

“Bend over and I’ll show you…”

…how could Christmas get any better?!

In fact, my family has taken quite a few pages from the Griswold Family Christmas book, unintentionally re-creating several of the famed events.  One of my favorites was the Christmas of the Griswold Family Christmas Tree…

Christmas 2003

This was one of the first few years my family lived in our house on the lake.  My parents were divorced, so my dad bought this place and decorated it with, shall we say, eclectic style.  This included kind of throwing/setting shiny red, gold and silver garland on top of lamps and taking extra tree branches and nailing them on the tops of the walls inside our living room because it “looked cute.”  Where there is lack of a woman (I was 13 at the time and still a verifiable boy as my speed bumps had yet to develop and resembled more closely to mosquito bites), there is also lack of any feminine decorations and cleanliness.  Not to stereotype or anything.  My mother just happens to be the cleaner of my parents.

My dad really wanted us to have a cool, new experience that Christmas, so we decided to cut down our own tree for the first time.  We drove out to a farm somewhere in bum fuck Wisconsin and trekked through the snow, passing ginormous pines taller than our house.  Finally, we reached a clearing and found, very similar to the Griswolds, a tree of perfection.  Suddenly, a choir of angels began serenading and we just knew it was our tree.  So my dad got to work sawing the thing down while the three of us nuggets played reindeer and monster through the surrounding trees (we were very helpful spawn).  The only issue was that as my dad sawed back and forth and finally made his way to the center of the trunk, the tree split in half.

We left the farm with two sprouting logs half-hazardly resting on a Beauty and the Beast sleeping bag and tied down to our red Neon.  Yes, we had a Neon.  I was 13, and absolutely mortified that anyone would see me with this god-awful double tree covering 3/4 of our windshield.  So, I cowered in the front seat and pouted like a little brat.  I presume the river of red was soon to make its appearance in my life.

Anywho.  By the time we got home and started stetting up the trees, we realized the only way to keep them standing upright was to tie them with rope to the center beam in our Living Room.  The trunks were also each far too big to fit in a normal tree stand, so we were forced to resort to using two extra large white mop buckets – you know, the kind that janitorial staffs all over the world use to clean massive corporate lobbies?  Yep, those.  So pretty.

We got the trunks in their septic tank-sized stands and proceeded to raise the trees to attach them to the pole.  It was then that we realized that what appeared to be the perfect size tree in the wilderness was actually far too tall for our teeny living room.  So, like the Griswolds, there was no room for the angel that year.  The branches stretched across our ceiling in every direction.

We topped off the classy Christmas tanenbaum with adorable little ornaments, and beer and soda cans.  Ask me why we did that.  I have no fucking clue.  My dad was not a drinker, so it was really mostly soda cans.  Maybe this was his non-feminine way of being “creative.”  I think that had we had any visitors that year, they would have given us coins, clearly mistaking us for homeless children.

To top off the beautiful indoor decorations, we had just started renovations, so there was still a healthy amount of old lady in our home that we had yet to rip down.  Surrounding us was faux wood paneling straight out of 1970, floral wallpaper that was probably once white but had taken a turn for the yellow/brown category, and a hideous floral couch the old couple had left behind for us.  It was a decent couch, so we kept it and just sort of tried to cover it up with a few Mexican blankets.  We still have the couch today.

It was a magical Christmas indeed.

I am very much looking forward to watching “Christmas Vacation” on repeat (I’ve already watched it twice), and decorating our tree in some new eclectic and “cute” way.  I fully intend to one day host a “Christmas Vacation” holiday party.  And I’ll probably wear a dickie under a tight white sweater.  Because there’s no better character to elicit Christmas cheer than Cousin Eddie.

If you didn’t get any of these references, please purchase this movie.  I guarantee you’ll die of laughter.  And if you don’t, I’m so sorry.  It must be quite unfortunate to lack a sense of humor.



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