Christmas Vacation

Synopsis: It's Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Jeremiah S. Chechik
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min

That was beautiful--

Take it, Russ.

Dad, can you explain again

what we're doing?

Sure, Russ. We're kicking off our fun,

old-fashioned family Christmas... heading out into the country

in the old front-wheel drive sleigh... embrace the majesty

of the winter landscape...

...and select that most important

of Christmas symbols.

We're not driving all the way here so

you can get one of those stupid ties...

- ...with the Santa Clauses on it, are we?

- No, I have one of those at home.

What we're looking for today

is the Griswold family Christmas tree.

What we're looking for today

is the Griswold family Christmas tree.

- What's the matter?

- Some jackass is riding my tail.

Slow down and let him pass.

Clark! Don't provoke them.

Hey, kids, look a deer.

Clark, slow down!

You wanna ride behind somebody

who does that?

I'll pull around them

and leave them behind us.

Burn some dust here. Eat my rubber.

Dad, I think what you mean is,

"Burn rubber," and, "Eat my dust."

Whatever, Russ. Whatever.

Eat my road grit, liver lips!

Okay. That's enough of that.

Speaking of trees, kids,

can one of you tell me...

...what the first tree displayed

at the White House was?

Dad, they're back.

Clark, stop it!

I don't want to spend the holidays dead.

Honey, please! I'll do the driving, okay?

Will you just take it easy, Ellen?

I'm in complete control.

I'll get around this egg timer.

Dad. Dad.

- Thank God, we're all right!

- Clark, we're stuck under a truck!

- Do you honestly think I don't f***ing know that?

- Come on, guys, don't fight.

For sh*t's sake,

I didn't do this on purpose!

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

And forgive my husband.

He knows not what he does.


- Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

- Oops!

Made pretty good time.

Dad, didn't they invent tree

lots so people wouldn't have to drive...

...all the way out to nowhere

and waste a whole Saturday?

They made them

because people forgot... to have

an old-fashioned Christmas...

...and are satisfied with scrawny,

overpriced trees...

- ...that have no special meaning.

- My toes are numb.

- This is what our forefathers did.

- I can't feel my leg.

They walked out into the woods,

picked it and cut it with their hands.

- Mom, I can't feel my hips.

- Clark.

- Yes, honey?

- Audrey's frozen from the waist.

That's all part of the experience, honey.

There it is.

The Griswold family Christmas tree.

- Isn't it a little big?

- It's not big, it's just full.

- Isn't it a little big?

- It's not big, it's just full.

- Dad, that thing wouldn't fit in our yard.

- It's not going in our yard, Russ.

- Dad, that thing wouldn't fit in our yard.

- It's not going in our yard, Russ.

It's going in our living room.

- Look at it.

- It really is beautiful, Clark.

- It's something else, huh, Russ?

- Yeah, Dad.

- Isn't it a beaut, Audrey?

- She'll see it later, hon.

Her eyes are frozen.

Most enduring traditions of the season

are best enjoyed in the warm embrace...

...of kith and kin.

This tree is the symbol of the spirit

of the Griswold Christmas.

Dad, did you bring a saw?


Looks like the toad overestimated

the height of his living room ceiling.

Hey, Griswold. Where do you think

you're gonna put a tree that big?

Bend over and I'll show you.

You've got a lot of nerve

talking to me like that.

I wasn't talking to you.

Clark, do you think there's enough room

for the angel?

Oh, sure, honey. I have

a little more trimming to do...

...but that won't be a problem.


I give you

the Griswold family Christmas tree.

There's a lot of sap in here.

It looks great. A little full. A lot of sap.

- Did I tell you I talked to my mother?

- And?

They've decided they're coming

for Christmas too.

- It's not too late to change our plans.

- No, no, that's great. That's great.

- It's not too late to change our plans.

- No, no, that's great. That's great.

You're forgetting how difficult

it's gonna be...

...having everybody in the house.

Honey, they're family.

They're not strangers off the street.

All they do is argue.

Christmas is about

resolving differences...

...and seeing through the problems

of family life.

Yeah. And about my mother accusing

your mother of buying cheap hot dogs.

And your mother accusing my mother

of waxing her upper lip.

- Then they don't speak to each other--

- Your mother waxes her upper lip?

- She has for years.

- It doesn't show.

- I don't know, Sparky. I have a feeling--

- Ellen.

I want to have Christmas

here in our house.

It means a lot to me. All my life I've

wanted to have a big family Christmas.

I know.

It's just that I know how you build

things up in your mind, Sparky.

You set standards that no family event

can ever live up to.

When have I ever done that?

- Parties. Weddings. Anniversaries.

- Good night, honey.

- Parties. Weddings. Anniversaries.

- Good night, honey.

- Funerals. Holidays.

- Oh, great.

Vacations. Graduations.

You should be looking at

a fat Christmas bonus this year, huh?

Word is you're an excellent choice to be

named Additive Designer of the Year.

- Get outta town.

- I'm not kidding.

What's that new thing you got

at Food and Drug?

Oh, the crunch enhancer?

Yeah, it's a non-nutritive cereal varnish.

It's semipermeable, not osmatic.

It coats and seals the flake...

- ...prevents the milk from penetrating it.

- Yeah.

- It's a beautiful product.

- I like it, yeah.

The question is,

what will you do with that bonus?

- Gonna blow it on yourself, I hope.

- Me? Oh hell no.

Take a look at this.

I hope my Christmas bonus check

will cover it.

Oh, my God, you're putting in a pool.

I went ahead and I put a $7500

deposit down on it.

You're the last true family man.

- Mark.

- Clark.

That's Bill, sir.

Were you working on that

non-nutritive cereal varnish?

- Yes, sir.

- I gotta give a speech to a trade group.

I'd like to mention it. Write a summary

and have it to me by the end of the day.

I'd like to mention it. Write a summary

and have it to me by the end of the day.

- My pleasure.

- Layman's terms.

None of that inside bullshit jargon

nobody understands.

Yes, sir.

Oh, Mr. Shirley. We got

your Christmas card the other day...

...and my family and I are very flattered

that you remembered us.

Corporate cards.

- Don't forget that report, Bill.

- Yes, sir. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass.

Happy Hanukkah.

Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass.

Rate this script:4.4 / 7 votes

John Hughes

An American filmmaker. Beginning as an author of humorous essays and stories for National Lampoon, he went on to write, produce and sometimes direct some of the most successful live-action comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s. Most of Hughes's work is set in the Chicago metropolitan area. He is best known for his coming-of-age teen comedy films which often combined magic realism with honest depictions of suburban teenage life. more…

All John Hughes scripts | John Hughes Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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