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Lessons on Surviving the Holiday from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

December 9, 2019

The holidays can be tough on everyone, especially if you’re Clark Griswold Jr. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. You may have good intentions for a great holiday, but the turkey is dry, your relatives say something rude, and you burn the cookies. Not only that, but leading up to the holiday celebration, there are too many errands to run and crabby people on the roads and in the stores. You might end up feeling more stressed than jolly, and end up complaining about everything rather than singing Christmas carols. No matter how much you plan and hope for the best, sometimes things just don’t work how you intend. If you’re also determined to provide your family a “fun old-fashioned family Christmas” like Clark, these tips will help you survive the not-always-so-wonderful time of the year.


Curb your Expectations

Clark Griswold has high hopes for the Christmas season. He wants everything to go absolutely perfectly. And we all know how that turned out. The turkey was so overcooked it disintegrated into nothing, the lights didn’t work, the tree gets burned to a crisp…the list goes on. The higher your expectations, the higher your anxiety level. Tone it down a notch and you’ll be more likely to have a safe Christmas.


Don’t Over-extend Yourself

Over-extending yourself will lead to anxiety and stress. Those two things can lead to mistakes, especially when you add in holiday obligations and stressors. You’ll quickly drain your energy by overcommitting.


Don’t Overspend

We know how well overspending goes for Clark. He counts on getting a Christmas bonus from his boss, so he puts a down payment on a pool. Instead of getting a bonus, his gift is enrollment into the Jelly of the Month Club. Overspending to prove a point or to try to show your love is never a good idea. Remember the reason for the season. You especially don’t want to overspend if it will cause you to default on other bills, such as your health insurance or utility bills.


There are plenty of scenarios in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where people get hurt because they don’t pay attention to safety. Don’t smoke near your Christmas tree, keep cats away from anything electrical, and don’t buy a tree that’s too large for your home, and you’ll be just fine this holiday season.