National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Trivia: 8 Surprising Facts  

Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Warner Bros

A must-watch for many each festive season, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a brilliant John Hughes comedy, with lots of laughs and lots of heart. Here are 8 pieces of trivia about the film…  

1) Chevy Chase broke his pinky whilst punching Santa 

Whilst trying to get his impressive exterior Christmas display to light up, Clark suffers one of his infamous meltdowns, and starts beating the hell out of Santa and his reindeer. Whilst punching Santa, Chevy Chase actually broke his little finger. It hurt so much, he took to clubbing the reindeer after that. 

2) Cousin Eddie wears the shoes Clark gifted him in Vacation 

True to his money-skimping character, when we see him in Christmas Vacation, Cousin Eddie is still sporting the same pair of shoes that Clark gave gifted him in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, which hit screens in 1982. 

3) The cast had Chevy Chase’s lines hanging from their necks

After Clark gets a Jello of the Month Club membership delivered in place of his Christmas bonus, he delivers one hell of a rant regarding his boss. Whilst it seems like Chevy is improvising, he’s actually reading the lines from signs that are hanging from the necks of his fellow cast members. 

4) Chris Columbus quit National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation early on 

Chris Columbus had originally been slated as the movie’s director. However, he very quickly realised that the rumours about Chevy Chase being difficult to work with were true. He quit the job, and was worried at the time that it might end his career. Fortunately for him, John Hughes gave him the role of directing Home Alone the following year, which was a much bigger hit. 

5) The film was based on Hughes’ short story, Christmas ‘59 

John Hughes published a story in National Lampoon Magazine called Vacation ‘58, based on a holiday he’d had as a child. It became the basis for the original Griswold movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation. Hughes then published a follow-up, Christmas ‘59. That short story became National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. As a homage, the old film reel Clark watches in the attic is marked Xmas ‘59. 

6) Brian Doyle-Murray made his second Vacation appearance

Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, appeared in Christmas Vacation as Clark’s cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating boss, Frank Shirley. But it wasn’t his first appearance in a Vacation movie! He also played the clerk who checked the Griswold family into Kamp Komfort, back in the original film. 

The Overcooked Turkey in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Warner Bros

7) The production team had to chase the snow

Like most John Hughes movies, Christmas Vacation was set in Chicago. However, it was mostly filmed in a studio in California. For some exterior scenes, they needed snow, so they decided to travel to Colorado. However, when they got there, they found a completely snow-less landscape, and had to order in trucks of fake snow. As soon as the trucks rolled up, down came the real snow. There was so much snowfall, in fact, that they could hardly film, and had to travel around in snowcats. 

8) Todd and Margo’s house was used in the Lethal Weapon series

If Todd and Margo’s house looks familiar to you movie lovers, it’s because it appeared in all four Lethal Weapon movies. It was the family home of Danny Glover’s main character, Roger Murtaugh. 

There you have it – 8 pieces of trivia about the holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Trailer

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