We normally wouldn’t associate the panic-shouted name of a bushy-tailed rodent with Christmas, but any fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation knows that a squirrel can play a key role in a family Christmas — and ultimately in achieving payback against a bitchy yuppie neighbor, too.
Every year come the holiday season I want to see some of the standard shows at least once. A Charlie Brown Christmas, of course, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Ralphie in A Christmas Story. One of the old versions of A Christmas Carol. It’s A Wonderful Life. And Christmas Vacation, which is one of those movies that I’ll watch whenever I run across it during channel-surfing time.
It’s a guilty pleasure, but the simple story of everyman Clark Griswold and his doomed attempts to achieve the perfect family Christmas — notwithstanding the unexpected arrival of dickey-wearing cousin Eddie and his cheap RV with its chemical toilet, uncooperative Christmas lights, ill-advised applications of food technology to sleds, cheapskate bosses, dinner-destroying dogs, and other malignant forces that threaten to thwart him at every turn — seems to perfectly capture the magic of Christmas in a modern world.
Some might bemoan that our family Christmas traditions now include TV programs and movies as well as Christmas carols and other, more conventional aspects of the season. I’m not too troubled by that. In the Webner family, there will be a holiday sit-down to watch Christmas Vacation this year, just as in years past. Anything that brings families together for some hearty laughter seems like a pretty good Christmas tradition to me.