Christmas Vacation: A Movie House Tour
When Christmastime comes around each year, do you and your family have a favorite movie that you just have to watch? Mine without a doubt is the classic, Home Alone. Love the house, love the humor and I can’t help but feel a little sentimental when I see it since my son was about Kevin’s age when the movie first came out.
Another movie that’s become a favorite over the years for many folks is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold and Beverly D’Angelo as his wife, Ellen.
In the movie, Clark has big plans for a “good, old-fashioned family Christmas.” Both sets of grandparents are coming for Christmas, along with his Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis. The Griswolds get a surprise visit from Cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and her moocher husband, Eddie, played by Randy Quaid.
The movie takes place in this adorable house. You know I have an affinity for yellow houses from THIS post. It definitely has that “all-American, mom and apple pie” look.
If you’ve seen some of the other movie house tours at BNOTP, you are probably wondering if the movie was really filmed in this house.
Per riverblue.com, the exterior shots were constructed and filmed entirely on a studio lot in southern California. They even had an earthquake occur during the filming! Fake snow was produced for the movie–amazing how realistic it looks. Reminds me of the “snow effect” in the filming of the Pottery Barn commercial seen in this Pottery Barn garland hack post, HERE.
Riverblue.com also reveals that many of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Breckenridge, Colorado. That’s about the only place I’m actually familiar with in CO since we used to go there to ski every few years. It’s a beautiful, quaint picturesque town. While in Breckenridge for the filming, some of the indoor sets for the Griswold home were built inside an old high school gymnasium.
Well, it’s still a great looking “fantasy” movie house, even if it is just a set. Once again, the movie producers and set directors know just how to get to us, don’t they?
One of the main themes throughout the movie is Clark’s elaborate decorating of the exterior of the home with 25,000 lights! In this scene below, Clark is at the fuse box flipping the switches while Ellen shouts the bad news that the lights still won’t light up.
After all his hard work stringing the lights, they will not light up. Did you find yourself rooting for poor old Clark and his lighting attempt? He so badly wants to make this the best Christmas ever for his family. Long after everyone is in bed, Clark is still up on the roof testing each bulb, trying to figure out why they will not work.
Let’s leave Clark to his work and tour the inside of the home. Maybe he’ll figure out the problem by the time we’re done. Christmas Vacation was filmed in 1989 so we are traveling back in our time machine. Get ready for some late 80’s, early 90’s interior decorating.
In this scene we get a nice view of the entry. Love the wainscoting going up the stairway. That’s something that never goes out of style. I’ve seriously considered adding some wainscoting to my main stairway. I like this pattern. Note to self: save copy of this pic for future reference.
Step into the living room and feast your eyes on THE TREE. This reminds me of the year I talked my sister and her husband into letting me bring home a Christmas tree that was so big, my cat climbed it three times that year! It really didn’t look that big when we were out in the woods.
Another view of the living room. You’ll see some pairing of red and green throughout this movie, but not near the amount we saw in the Home Alone house tour.
Another view of the living room with “the stockings hung by the chimney with care.”
The lighting feels so warm and cozy in all these scenes.
We get a brief glimpse or two into what I’m calling the den or TV room. Remember when folks used to have a “TV room” in the house? Lots and lots of shutters…again very cozy.
Here’s Rusty, played by Johnny Galecki chilling out watching TV. Looks like he’s watching a black and white movie…maybe it’s an old Christmas movie like, It’s a Wonderful Life.
Lots of wallpaper in this house…after all it’s the 80’s. Note all the red and white transferware in the china hutch. What pattern is that? Yes, I want to know. These are important questions I have here!
Yup, Norman Rockwell’s, “Thanksgiving Dinner.” I think I read once that Norman Rockwell painted himself into this scene. I think he’s either the guy on the left closest to us or the one looking back at us. Ummm, anyone know if that’s true?
The wallpaper appears to be a blue and white toile. What a skinny little chair rail.
Do you have a fireplace in your dining room? Oh, I would so love that! Wonder why they didn’t have a fire going? Definitely needed a fire in the fireplace for this scene.
There’s one of those brass chandeliers that everyone in Blogland is always painting over these days. Not me, I still like brass. I know, I’m weird. Notice we have the kid’s table…always the kid’s table.
During the movie, the Christmas tree goes up in flames and Clark cuts down a tree right from his yard. He unknowingly brings a squirrel into the house via the tree. The squirrel goes berserk running through the house with Cousin Eddie’s dog in hot pursuit, leaving a big mess behind.
This is the only scene I was able to capture of the kitchen. Love the plaid curtains…feels sooo homey and so Christmasy.
The messy laundry room shortly after the squirrel/dog escapades.
Let’s head upstairs. Here’s a brief view of the stairway with yet, more wallpaper.
A really great scene occurs in the attic. Clark accidentally gets shut up in there while the family is out shopping for the day. He ends up watching old home movies…very sentimental scene.
Another view of the upstairs landing/hall and we can see more wall paper in the one of the bedrooms.
This is the only bathroom scene in the movie. Interesting paper, huh?
Audrey, Clark and Ellen’s daughter, (played by Juliette Lewis) is seen here in her bedroom for this scene. How did they come to pair that comforter with those curtains? This feels very much like a typical American home, doesn’t it? Not overly decorated, just cozy and very livable. I remember those ruffled curtains. I had them in beige in the living room. Ha! Did I just admit that? That was back around 1989, too.
That’s all we get to see inside the Griswold home. There’s another home we get a brief glimpse inside during the course of the movie–the home of Clark’s boss, Frank Shirley, played by Brian Doyle-Murray. He is said to live “on Melody Lane with all the other rich people.”
During the movie, Clark becomes very upset because he discovers his boss has stiffed everyone on their Christmas bonus without warning any of the employees in advance. Eddie, (the redneck cousin) decides to get even and wants to grant Clark his one Christmas wish. He personally fetches the boss for Clark–one of the funniest scenes in the movie. There’s Eddie’s “deluxe” RV parked right out front. So funny!
In this scene, Mr. Shirley’s wife is calling the police to report her husband has been kidnapped. Nice study!
Clark manages to solve his lighting woes and electrifies his house…
Which causes a near black out for miles! So funny!
The power company throws the switch for their nuclear powered generators and electricity is restored to the rest of Chicago.
It’s been a full year since I watched Christmas Vacation…I’m ready again. What movie will you be pulling out this Christmas?
Love touring movie houses as much as I do?
You’ll find additional Movie House Tours, by clicking on Home Tours at the top of the blog and then Movie House Tours. Or, click here: Movie House Tours.