8 Amazing ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ Moments You Never Noticed

Photo: Warner Brothers (Getty Images)

Cousin Eddie and the Griswolds are now as iconic amongst American Christmas culture as Frosty the Snowman. In fact, most of us hold all of the characters from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation close to our hearts. After all, we all have a Cousin Eddie or an Aunt Bethany in our family. And Ellen and Clark certainly portray all too well the ongoing husband-wife conflict surrounding the stress of a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.”

But even if you’ve seen the movie dozens of times, there are several moments — or Easter eggs — you may have missed.

Here are eight awesome Christmas Vacation moments that will make your experience watching this movie even funnier than before.

1. Why are there mountains in Illinois?

The Griswolds live in Chicago. Illinois is literally, scientifically, the flattest state in the United States. So unless Clark and Ellen drove their kids several hours to a hilly location in Wisconsin, this opening scene makes no sense geographically. But hey, then again, Clark goes to extreme lengths to have the perfect Christmas throughout the rest of the movie. Why not an 11-hour drive to pick out the Griswold family Christmas tree?

2. The dude on People Magazine is the movie’s director.

We always wondered who the random “old timey” lookin’ guy was on the cover of Clark’s magazine while lying in bed with Ellen. Now we know the cover boy is actually a small cameo by Jeremiah Chechik, the movie’s director. In fact, Christmas Vacation was his first movie.

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3. Here come the nuts!

And we’re not talking about the in-laws, as nutty as they come. But if you listen carefully during this snoring scene with the grandpas, the commentary during the parade on the television in the background is hilarious.

“Boy, these gusty winds appear to be playing havoc with the giant nutcracker float. At this point, I can’t even see the nuts. They must have blown away. Oh, here they are. Here come the nuts.”

Now you will never un-hear it.

Oh, here they are. Here come the nuts. These look like giant nuts to me.

4. “Auxilliary” power?

As soon as Clark finally gets his personal Las Vegas strip of Christmas lights to work on his house, the power plant has to immediately turn on the supplemental backup power via the nuclear “auxilliary.” But you can tell they must not use the backup power often, if ever, considering “auxiliary” is misspelled.

5. Eddie’s “nice surprise” at Wal-Mart.

There’s more than one noticeable beast of destruction in Christmas Vacation, and in this Wal-Mart scene, Cousin Eddie keeps piling on the dog food, destroying Clark’s light bulbs in the process. Blink and you’ll miss it.

6. There’s an ode to Walley World.

While Eddie’s kid is being trained in “carnival” and Clark wants to leave them all for dead, at least they can take comfort in the fact they’re drinking their eggnog out of Walley World glasses. The moose cups are a reference to the Griswold’s first Vacation movie. And wouldn’t it be impossible to be in the worst of moods while drinking sugary milk punch out of a moose head?

7. Eddie’s turtleneck is quite somethin’.

There’s another hidden gem in the same scene. If you look closely, you can see that Eddie’s black turtleneck, underneath his beige sweater, has cutoff sleeves. Too cheap to afford a new, complete turtleneck? Or did he cut off the sleeves to be trailer park chic?

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8. Christmas Vacation actually never gets to Christmas.

It’s okay. This blew our minds as well when we realized it. The entire movie takes place over roughly two weeks in December and never makes it to Christmas morning. The last scene, sewer gas explosion and all, happens on Christmas Eve.

“Play ball!”


Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory. His dad proudly considers himself the “Cousin Eddie of the family.”