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->''"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving! Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas! No, no! We're all in this together! This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here! We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny [[PrecisionFStrike Fucking]] Kaye! And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!"''
-->--'''Clark W. Griswold Jr.'''

Released in 1989, this third installment in the ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'' film series was directed by Jeremiah Chechik and cowritten by Creator/JohnHughes. Creator/ChevyChase and Beverly D'Angelo once again star as Clark and Ellen Griswold, with Creator/JulietteLewis and Johnny Galecki appearing this time out as Audrey and Rusty, respectively.

Clark has decided to host nearly his entire extended family at his house for the holiday season, including his parents (John Randolph and Diane Ladd), his in-laws (E. G. Marshall and Doris Roberts), his crotchety Uncle Lewis (William Hickey) and senile Aunt Bethany (Mae Questel, in her final role), and his possibly-inbred cousin-in-law Eddie (Randy Quaid). Meanwhile, he's counting on a large Christmas bonus from his boss (Creator/BrianDoyleMurray) to help pay for his surprise present for the family: a backyard swimming pool. As can be expected, everything [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]] in the most [[HilarityEnsues hilarious manner possible]].

The film is notable for being the only entry in the ''Vacation'' series to take place at the Griswold home. Many families consider it a classic holiday movie, especially for its chaotic [[TruthInTelevision yet not too far off]] portrayal of family Christmas gatherings.

In 2003, a MadeForTV sequel entitled ''National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure'' was released, which featured Cousin Eddie as the [[IdiotHero main protagonist]], making it more of a SpinOff than a sequel.
!!"We're going to have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas tropes ever":

* AbsurdlyBrightLight: The house's battery of Christmas lights (when they work).
* AccidentalMisnaming: Clark's boss never gets his name right until the very end.
* AlcoholHic: Ellen's mother has one while laughing at Clark's failed lights.
* AnimatedCreditsOpening: Courtesy of [[WesternAnimation/TechnologicalThreat Kroyer Animation]] [[WesternAnimation/FerngullyTheLastRainforest Studios]], showing that even SantaClaus isn't immune to the comic misfortune that permanently surrounds the Griswold family. The opening cartoon show his disastrous attempt to deliver their Christmas presents.
* TheAntiGrinch: Clark Griswold's over-zealousness to give his family the best experience ever come hell or high water overrides his family's desire to enjoy a simpler experience and completely makes their lives a living hell (not to mention wrecks their house). This only gets worse as he starts undergoing SanitySlippage -- you can see that everybody else in the room [[OhCrap seems to fear for a moment]] that he'll do ''something'' worse than just ranting when he declines their proposal to just cut their losses.
* AssShove: [[MemeticMutation "Bend over and I'll show ya!"]]
* AtomicFBomb: Clark's rant against his boss after his BerserkButton is pushed. "Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"
* AxCrazy: Clark kinda gets a little chainsaw happy at the height of his SanitySlippage.
* BackhandedCompliment: In one scene, Clark says that Eddie's "heart is bigger than his brain." To which Eddie replies "I appreciate that, Clark."
* BadBoss: Mr. Shirley crossed from being a MeanBoss to this when [[spoiler:he cut Christmas bonuses without telling his employees]], which ''everyone'' calls him out on. Clark even says that fair enough if he wanted to do it, even if it'd be a jerk move, it was [[spoiler:not telling anyone]] that was going too far.
* BaitAndSwitch: The opening minutes make it seem like the Griswalds are going on yet another road trip (this time to find a Christmas tree) like the first two movies. However, that plot thread gets resolved quickly and the film switches gears to a CrappyHolidays story instead.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Just as Margo expresses her regret to Todd about their not getting a Christmas tree, the one that Clark cuts down in his yard comes crashing through their window.
* BerserkButton: When Clark finds out that [[spoiler:instead of a check his Christmas bonus is a year-long membership to the Jelly of the Month club]], he does not take it well.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Once Clark gets pushed that ''last bit'' too far...
* BigBlackout: Clark causes one when he turns his Christmas lights on. For about 10 seconds.
* BigDamnHeroes: The SWAT team does this in the last act for Mr. Shirley. However, once they learn ''why'' he was kidnapped, they change tune:
-->'''SWAT Commander''': That's pretty low, mister! If I had a rubber hose, I would beat you into a...
* BigDamnKiss: Ellen gives a small peck to Clark at the end of the movie before he pulls her back in for a dramatic kiss to celebrate the success of their family Christmas.
* BigEater: Snots the dog and cousin Eddie.
* BlatantLies: While Clark was talking to his boss, Mr. Shirley, the boss tired of talking with Clark and explained that he was on a very important call. He then picked up the phone and told the secretary to get him on the phone with anyone.
* BookEnds: A rare one that doesn't span the entire movie. After it switches from cartoon to live-action and the opening credits song fades out, we hear Clark and Ellen singing the last two lines of "O Come All Ye Faithful" while in their car. As the scenario ends with their car driving away, not only do we hear an instrumental version of the same song, it's only the last two lines.
* BrickJoke:
** The flammable sewer gas.
** Clark's remark about the tree drying up.
** Early in the film, Audrey asks if Clark is going to buy "another stupid Santa tie" and Clark replies that he already has one at home. During the Christmas Eve scenes at the end of the film, Clark is wearing the tie.
* BumblingDad: Clark is a prime example of this trope. He's well-meaning, and he's intelligent enough to have a well-paying white collar job, but every time he tries to create the perfect Christmas for his family, some sort of disaster happens.
* ButtMonkey:
** Clark, as usual for the ''Vacation'' films. Sometimes his misfortune is inflicted on him by others (such as when Ellen's mother closes the attic door to keep the cold air out, unaware that Clark is in the attic), and sometimes he is a victim of his own ambition (such as his wild toboggan ride after he greases it with an experimental non-stick coating), but his disaster magnetism is always played for laughs.
** The other Griswolds are equally disaster-prone, mostly by being dragged along for the ride by the chaos that follows Clark everywhere.
** The Griswolds' next door neighbors, Todd and Margo, are collateral damage for many of the misfortunes that Clark creates during the film (see RecurringExtra for details). But they are both shallow, smug, self-absorbed yuppies, so it's hard to feel sorry for them.
* CaptainObvious: Ellen at the beginning of the film.
-->'''Ellen:''' Clark, we're stuck under a truck!
-->'''Clark:''' Do you honestly think that I don't know that?!
* CheerfulChild: Ruby Sue holds out hope that Santa will visit her.
* ChekhovsGun: Cousin Eddie's act of emptying out his RV's toilet into the Griswolds' sewer is foreshadowed to have disastrous results... and that's exactly what happens in the last act of the film.
* CigaretteOfAnxiety: Ellen begins smoking while having a minor anxiety attack in the kitchen due to the stress of her parents and Clarke's parents staying in their house. Lampshaded when her mother somehow instantly knows that she's smoking, from the other room, the instant she lights up.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Cousin Eddie, with countless one-liners to back it up.
-->'''Eddie:''' I don't know if I oughta go sailin' down no hill with nothin' between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic.
-->'''Clark:''' Do you really think it matters, Eddie?
* CleavageWindow: The blouse that Ellen wears on Christmas Eve has one of these.
* ClusterFBomb: Averted with G-rated curses!! [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQXuazYI_YU "If any of you are looking for any last minute gift ideas for me... I have one."]]
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Ruby Sue comments that Rocky's "shittin' bricks" about the upcoming Christmas holiday, and amends it to "shittin' ''rocks''" when Clark reminds her not to talk that way.
* ContinuityNod:
** At one point, Clark and Eddie are seen drinking eggnog from Wally World-themed moose-headed cups.
** In contrast to [[TheOtherDarrin the Griswold children]], Eddie's eldest kids are still the same ones from the first movie, even though [[PutOnABus we only get to hear about their current exploits]]. [[invoked]]
** It's a quick moment, but when Rusty catches Clark flirting with Mary, the buxom department store clerk, he shakes his head as if to say, "Here we go again..." perhaps remembering Clark's encounter with the Ferrari girl from the first movie.
* CoolOldGuy: Clark's dad, Clark Griswold Sr.
* CoolUncle: Despite his exasperation towards his cousin, Clark bonds with Eddie's daughter, Ruby Sue, largely out of sympathy for being in a family that's too poor to get her Christmas presents.
* CoversAlwaysLie: At best, the cover is symbolic of what Clark goes through. He doesn't end up actually shocked while on the roof.
* CrappyHolidays: That might be an understatement for Clark.
* CringeComedy: As usual.
* DeadpanSnarker:
** Ellen frequently employs this as well as the occasional AsideGlance whenever her family becomes more obnoxious than she can bear.
** Clark gets in some zingers as well, mostly at Cousin Eddie's expense.
* DeathGlare: Clark gives them to practically everyone in the last act, even his own son.
* DiscoDan: Eddie still wears leisure suits, even though they went out of style nearly a decade before the movie came out.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Thanks to a RhetoricalRequestBlunder, Eddie [[spoiler:kidnaps Clark's boss, Frank, for not giving Clark a Christmas bonus]]. Of course, when [[spoiler:said bonus was cut out, that meant Clark was bankrupt. And anyway, Christmas bonuses are a necessary thing for companies]].
* DistractedByTheSexy: Clark is so fixated on the sexy brunette sales clerk showing him her panties that he fails to notice his son is standing right next to him.
* TheDitz: Aunt Bethany. Although she's more of a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} due to the fact that her comments seem to be a result of old age (and probable senility) rather than genuine stupidity.
-->"Is this the airport, Clark? Is your house on fire, Clark? Is Rusty still in the navy? I just love riding in cars."
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Audrey is skinning [[GroinAttack a carrot with a knife]] as she's complaining about having to sleep in the same bed as her brother.
* DoubleTake: "Can't see the line, can you, Russ?"
* EarnYourHappyEnding: By the end of the film, [[spoiler:Clark has received his Christmas bonus and the family has all gathered to enjoy the holiday in spite of Clark and Ellen's destroyed home]].
-->'''Clark:''' I did it.
* EveryoneHasStandards:
** Clark's in-laws have no respect for him and take every opportunity to put him down, but when Clark opens his letter to find he got a membership to a Jelly-of-the-Month club instead of the Christmas bonus he long sought after, they both look genuinely disappointed and saddened for him.
** The chief of the Chicago Police, the man with the sworn duty to rescue Mr. Shirley safe and sound, gets so angry when the Griswolds explain why Mr. Shirley was abducted that he instantly says Mr. Shirley deserves to get the shit kicked out of him (and was halfway into saying that he would have done so ''himself'' when Clark interrupted).
* FantasySequence: ''"Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day…"''
* FinaglesLaw: Like the rest of the series, ''Christmas Vacation'' runs off this trope.
* FloorboardFailure: A justified variant when Clark is trapped in the attic. He deliberately steps between the rafters rather than on them, so his weight is supported only by sheetrock which, unsurprisingly, eventually gives in.
* FreudianSlip: "We needed a coffin -- I mean a tree."
* FreudianSlipperySlope: The mall scene where Clark is talking to the buxom sales clerk:
** "I was just smelling -- smiling! I was just blous -- browsing..."
** "Yeah, it is a bit nipply out."
* FromBadToWorse[=/=]GoneHorriblyWrong: The whole movie is the family's holiday doing this.
* FromTheMouthsOfBabes:
** "Sorry. Shittin' rocks."
** From the same scene: "Sometimes I think all that Santa crap is just bull. If he was so real, how come we didn't get squat last year? We didn't do nothin' wrong, and we ''still'' got the shaft."
* TheGrinch[=/=]TheScrooge:
** Clark's MeanBoss, Mr. Shirley, who suspends Clark's Christmas bonus in lieu of a membership to a Jelly-of-the-Month club. Notably, however, this one has a wife, who vocally expresses disgust at his miserliness once she learns what he's done. Clark points out during his rant that if Mr. Shirley wants to do that it's fine by him, but he could have ''at least'' given his employees some prior warning so they could figure out what to do now that they lacked that.
** The snooty yuppie neighbors, Todd and Margo, eschew a Christmas tree -- and, apparently, the holiday itself -- on the grounds that it's "dirty and messy and corny and clichéd".
* GrumpyOldMan: Grandpa Art and Uncle Lewis. As far as the former is concerned, nothing Clark does is ever good enough. As far as the latter is concerned, nothing ''anyone'' does is ever good enough.
* HappilyMarried: Although Clark does have an EroticDream about Mary (the sales clerk at the lingerie store), he and Ellen seem to love each other very much.
* HeelRealization[=/=]HeelFaceTurn: Happens to Mr. Shirley after Clark gives him a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech for canceling employee Christmas bonuses without telling them. Not only does this convince Mr. Shirley to reinstate the Christmas bonuses, but he tells Clark to add 20% to whatever he made last year (causing Clark to faint in disbelief).
* HeroicBSOD: Clark goes through a very memorable one.
* HockeyMaskAndChainsaw: Clark when cutting the Christmas tree down to size.
* HopeSpot: As things go FromBadToWorse at home, a courier suddenly shows up at Clark's door with an envelope from his boss. Clark thinks he's finally getting his Christmas bonus... [[spoiler:only to find out that it's a year-long membership to the Jelly of the Month Club]].
* InnocentBystander: Todd and Margo may be obnoxious jerks, but the stuff that happens to them is just because they live next door.
* IronicEchoCut:
** A non-verbal version with Todd and Margo discussing celebrating the holiday after all, then wondering where they'll find a tree so late on Christmas Eve. Cue Clark's replacement tree smashing through a nearby window.
** Followed by Clark telling Ellen that there are no lots open so late on Christmas Eve.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Clark is driven insane by the sequence of events in the movie, but he bends over backwards to accommodate the bizarre group of diverse personalities in his extended family, and he just wants to have a nice, family holiday together. Meanwhile, he's going through stress issues at work and doing everything he can to support his family. Eventually, he snaps.
* LongList: Clark Griswold's terms for his boss (see RageBreakingPoint for the transcript).
* MadeOfExplodium: The tree, the sewer gas, that crazy lubricant stuff Clark greased up his sled with.
* MarchingMooksInSuits: Mr. Shirley's first scene has him being followed by a bundle of executives in lock-step.
* MoodWhiplash: Just when we were about to close the movie off with a HeartwarmingMoment of all heartwarming moments, Uncle Lewis [[LiteralMetaphor blows it all up in flames (literally)]] by saying:
-->'''Uncle Lewis:''' [[spoiler:That ain't the frickin' Christmas star, Griz, that's the light on the sewage treatment plant!]]
* TheMountainsOfIllinois:
** Seen in the opening scene at the Christmas tree farm and the trip to there. The shots in question were in fact done in Summit County, Colorado.
** Also seen during the famous sledding scene.
* MsFanservice: Mary, the buxom brunette sales clerk at the lingerie counter ([[spoiler:who shows up again in Clark's FantasySequence]]), is played by model and former ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' Playmate [[http://coedmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/lauraleighptiag15.jpg%3Fw%25253D600 Nicolette Scorsese]] (who, in case you're wondering, is ''not'' related to Creator/MartinScorsese).
* MundaneUtility: Clark uses an extremely advanced experimental lubricant to grease up his sled. [[SuperSpeed It doesn't work out so well.]] [[GoneHorriblyRight One could argue that it worked too well...]]
* MythologyGag: The home movie that Clark watches in the attic is labelled "Christmas '59", which is also the name of the Creator/JohnHughes short story that inspired this film.
* NoodleImplements: When even one of the SWAT team members calls Mr. Shirley out [[spoiler:for not giving Clark a bonus]].
-->'''SWAT Member''': That's pretty low, mister! If I had a rubber hose, I would beat you into a...
* NoodleIncident: Ellen, at one point, points out to Clark that his family vacation plans never really go well. We, of course, know this already from the first two "Vacation" movies, but then Ellen mentions that Clark has made messes of weddings and [[TheFunInFuneral funerals]] in the past. A shame we never got to see ''those'' instances...
* ObnoxiousInLaws: Ellen's parents to Clark. They will never miss an opportunity to put Clark down.
* OddballInTheSeries: The only ''Vacation'' movie not to include the Griswold family going on Vacation.
* OhCrap: Clark wears several of these expressions during the film.
** The Griswolds finally find the perfect Christmas tree after a long trek in the freezing cold. Then Rusty pipes up: "Dad, did you bring a saw?"
** Clark goes into the attic before anyone else is awake to hide his Christmas gifts. Then he hears Ellen's mother, wondering where the cold air is coming from, close the trap door behind him...
* OverTheTopChristmasDecorations: Clark covers the entire house in lights. Literally, ''the entire house''. They're evenly spread across the exterior walls. When he turns them on, the power plant has to activate an emergency power supply to keep things going.
* PlayingGertrude: Diane Ladd, who plays Clark Griswold's mother, Nora, is actually less than eight years older than Creator/ChevyChase. In fact, Chase is closer in age to Ladd than he is to Beverly D'Angelo.
* PrecisionFStrike:
** "We're going to have the hap-hap-HAPPIEST Christmas since [[Film/WhiteChristmas Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny FUCKIN' Kaye!]]"
** Averted in the UK release, where this line was dubbed over with "Danny DANCING Kaye". This was a mandatory cut for the film to get a PG rating, [[TropesAreNotBad allowing a much wider audience to see it]]. [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar The UK Blu-ray contains the original line, but is still a PG]].
* PrettyInMink: Mrs. Shirley wears a fox coat over her nightgown when the police take her to where her husband was kidnapped.
* ProductPlacement: Ol' Roy dog food. And Clark's little misfortune with the sled and the super-grease ends with him crashing with a trash disposal on parking lot of a Wal-Mart.
* RageBreakingPoint: After all the problems of Christmas Eve, including having no money in the bank, Clark finally snaps when the boss stiffs him on his Christmas bonus.
-->'''Clark''': Ahh... hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people. And I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! HALLELUJAH, and HOLY SHIT! Where's the Tylenol?
* RakeTake: A variation involving loose floorboards in the attic instead of a rake.
* RantInducingSlight: When Clark's in-laws are getting ready to leave after the myriad screw-ups, Clark snaps.
-->'''Clark:''' Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving! Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas! Noooo, no! We're all in this together! This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here! We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fuckin' Kaye! And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!\\
'''Art:''' You're goofy.\\
'''Clark:''' [[YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry Don't piss me off, Art.]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Clark gives one to his boss, Mr. Shirley, for canceling Christmas bonuses and not even having the decency to tell his employees.
* RecurringExtra: Clark's smug yuppie neighbors Todd and Margo Chester repeatedly get caught in the crossfire of the various Griswold family mishaps. When Clark is putting up the lights and almost falls off the roof, the ice in the gutter shatters the Chesters' upstairs window and blows up their stereo. When the lights finally turn on successfully, the Chesters are almost blinded and keep knocking over their furniture as they try to regain their bearings. When Clark cuts down the second tree, it crashes through the Chesters' dining room window. Margo chooses to confront Clark just as he and the rest of the family are fleeing the squirrel in their tree, and before she can knock on the door, Clark opens it to let both the squirrel and Eddie's dog Snot fly straight into her. Finally, the SWAT team descending on the Griswolds' house after Frank Shirley is kidnapped also kick in the door of the Chesters' house.
* RhetoricalRequestBlunder: Clark reacts to the news that he received a subscription to a Jelly-of-the-Month Club in lieu of a Christmas Bonus from his boss by ranting that he wished the boss was right there so he could chew him out. [[spoiler:His cousin-in-law promptly jumps into his RV and kidnaps said boss.]]
* RichBitch: Subverted. Mrs. Shirley seems to be this at first, as we see her preening and primping in her car before coming into the Griswolds' house. However, we find that she's genuinely relieved that her husband is OK, and reveals herself to have a strong moral compass with her disgust for Mr. Shirley's cutting of the bonuses.
* RuleOfFunny: A lot of the things that go wrong operate in this manner instead of how they would in real life. How, for example, does an icicle trapped in the Griswold's gutter gain enough momentum to shoot through the air into Todd and Margo's window? Because it brings them pain.
* SanitySlippage: Clark goes through one, completely justified in his HeroicBSOD later on.
* SeniorSleepCycle: According to the DVD commentary, the grandparents had a side bet going during filming as to who could appear asleep on screen most often.
* SexySecretary: Mary. See MsFanservice above.
* SlasherSmile: Clark, in the last act.
* SoundtrackDissonance: "Here Comes Santa Claus" plays while [[spoiler:the entire police force starts gathering up en masse outside the Griswold house]].
* SpitTake: Clark gags on his eggnog when Eddie casually mentions that he plans on staying until sometime into January.
* StepfordSmiler:
** Clark, at the start of the last act.
** Eddie to a degree. He pretends that everything is alright when, in reality, he's unemployed and he and his family are living in an RV.
* StuffBlowingUp: Courtesy of [[spoiler:Uncle Louis tossing his match at the gas-filled sewer]].
* TagLine: Yule crack up!
* ThatPoorCat: Aunt Bethany's kitty electrocutes itself chewing on a Christmas light cord.
* ThemeMusicAbandonment: The only film in the series not to feature "Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham. It instead features the equally-memorable "Christmas Vacation" by Mavis Staples.
* TheUnfavorite: Oddly enough, Ellen's father is shown to be much more approving of Cousin Eddie (the unemployed idiot who has his family living in an RV) than of Clark (who has provided Ellen with an upper-middle class lifestyle). Clark's treatment of [[spoiler:Aunt Edna's (Frances or Art's sister) corpse]] in the first movie probably has something to do with it.
* WomenAreWiser: Ellen is about the only normal and consistently level-headed person in the family.
* XRaySparks: Happens when Santa Claus gets electrocuted by the lights in the animated opening credits.