Over 30 Years After Release, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Is Still A Merchandise Monster

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Over the past six years, it feels like the world has been tackling one crisis after another. Immediately following the 2016 election of the most controversial president in American history, the world was slammed by a pandemic, lockdowns, and shortages. Over the last two years, the world's population has learned to live with the new normal, which includes social distancing, medical masks, and staying home. In all this turmoil, it's normal to seek refuge in familiarity and tradition, and the holiday season is the best time to do this.

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means wreaths, reindeer, and, if you're from a family of impeccable taste, The Griswolds. Since 1989, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" has become as essential to the holiday as decorated trees, expensive gifts, and that one Mariah Carey song. With its spot-on depiction of childhood joys, adolescent humiliations, and crushed expectations of Yuletide, the John Hughes classic reigns supreme over all other Christmas films and continues to be a big part of many families' celebrations.

If "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is a staple of your Christmas season, you'll be delighted to know that the film continues to inspire loads of merchandise, and this year is no exception. Hold onto your kitchen lubricant-smeared sled because there's plenty of Griswold-inspired merchandise available this year.

The Griswold franchise

Before the 1989 Christmas film, The Griswolds had already taken a family trip to Wally World in 1983's "National Lampoon's Vacation" and trekked across Europe in 1985's "National Lampoon's European Vacation." If your family was a fan of these films, they're in good company. In 2019, the cast of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" reunited at The Samuel Goldwyn Theater to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film, and Juliette Lewis explained her family's appreciation for the Griswolds. "In my household, it was amazing because '[National Lampoon's] Vacation,' the original, was legendary," She said. "We worshiped Chevy in my home."

Chevy Chase made a name for himself in the mid-'70s as a "Saturday Night Live" cast member, and then went on to star in classic comedies like "Foul Play" and "Caddyshack." He'd already experienced success and fame before starring in the "National Lampoon" films, but Clark Griswold is arguably Chase's most famous and successful character. And It's easy to understand why.

Throughout the franchise, Clark is often depicted as a simpleton whose clumsiness and naivety often make him the butt of the joke, but it's impossible not to feel some affection for the guy. After all, he's a family man who always tries to make his wife and kids' life fun and enjoyable, no matter how many things go wrong. And boy do things always go wrong for the Griswolds.

If you've ever spent a single holiday with friends or family, you know that things rarely go as planned. Your car breaks down on your way to grandma's house, you don't get the gift you wanted, or you spike a fever and end up alone while your family celebrates. Most of us haven't had a squirrel run amok in our house or had our Christmas tree go up in flames, but like Clark, most of us know what it feels like to build up a special occasion in our minds only to have those high hopes shattered by reality.

'This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here.'

"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" reminds us that no matter how crappy our celebrations might be, The Griswold's is always worse. It's a comforting reminder for those of us who get overwhelmed and stressed out by all the hubbub. Of course, December is a busy month for a lot of people, so you might not be able to catch The Griswolds as often as you'd like. No worries. There are plenty of other ways to experience the levity of the film and use it to deal with the pressures of the holiday.

Due to the continuing popularity of the Christmas classic, many retailers offer plenty of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" merchandise. If unknotting all those stored decorations is stressing you out, consider grabbing a string of Clark Griswold-inspired tangled lights instead. if you need to pound some coffee while doing some last-minute shopping or wrapping, there's a fantastic tumbler full of quotes just for that occasion. If that one family member is getting on your last nerve, but you don't want to cause a scene, grab this rant-filled sweatshirt and passive-aggressively call them out, the way God intended.

After the last few years we've all had, I think we all deserve a moose mug for our eggnog and a nice set of Griswold themes sheets to snuggle into.