Christmas Vacation, A Movie House Tour

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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?

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Another view of the living room with “the stockings hung by the chimney with care.”

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

The lighting feels so warm and cozy in all these scenes.

Tour the home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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! ;)

The scenes around the table in the dining room always remind me of a famous painting.  Can you guess which one?
Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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?
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The wallpaper appears to be a blue and white toile.  What a skinny little chair rail.

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

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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.

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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.

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

This is the only scene I was able to capture of the kitchen.  Love the plaid curtains…feels sooo homey and so Christmasy.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

The messy laundry room shortly after the squirrel/dog escapades.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Let’s head upstairs.  Here’s a brief view of the stairway with yet, more wallpaper.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Another view of the upstairs landing/hall and we can see more wall paper in the one of the bedrooms.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

This is the only bathroom scene in the movie.  Interesting paper, huh?

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.

The home in the Movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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!

Clarke's bosses house in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

This home is a real home and not just a set, per Lindsay at iamnotastalker.com.  (Love the name of that site.)  This 5,698 sq ft home is located in Glendale, CA.   You can see an aerial view on Zillow.

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In this scene, Mr. Shirley’s wife is calling the police to report her husband has been kidnapped.  Nice study!

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Clark manages to solve his lighting woes and electrifies his house…

Christmas Vacation Movie House

Which causes a near black out for miles! So funny!

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

The power company throws the switch for their nuclear powered generators and electricity is restored to the rest of Chicago.

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

 

It’s been a full year since I watched Christmas Vacation…I’m ready again.  What movie will you be pulling out this Christmas?

Tour the home in the movie, Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

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.




Comments

  1. Susan, that trip down memory lane was great. I admit to having wallpaper in the 80's, I also remember having to strip said wallpaper!! :)
    I believe that is Norman Rockwell looking back in the painting.
    As for which movie for Christmas, I still have The Holiday on my P.V.R., cannot get enough of that movie or Jude Law!! :)

  2. I watch this movie every year doing Christmas decorations. I've always thought this set and the Father of the Bride set are the same. The staircases are identical.

    Joy

  3. lauren @ West Furniture Revival says:

    christmas vacation is one of my favorites i also love Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum!

  4. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Lauren, I haven't seen that one…will have to look for it. :)

  5. Phyllis@Around the House says:

    I could watch this movie (and we do) twenty times a season…what a show…Our favorite is when he is in the attic with the old fur on watching old movies…incredible…gotta make you cry a little…thanks for the walk down movie lane…

  6. Brooke @ Spruce Your Nest says:

    Great post! This is my absolute favorite Christmas movie! We watch it every year. My dad is totally Clark! I even walked out one year when I was in grade school while he was trying to put up a massive tree on a flag pole for me and was beating the lights with the pole because after so much work he couldn't get them to work LOL, just like Clark beating the Santa! Love it!

  7. My family LOVES this movie!! We watch it every year on Christmas Eve. I think we even quote some of the lines along with the cast! One thing about the movie though, the laundry room was messy because the dog chased the squirrel through the room. That's why we have a cat instead of a dog! ;)

  8. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Ohhh, that makes sense about why the laundry room was such a mess. :)

  9. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Brooke, too funny! Thanks for sharing that story! Love it!

  10. I have already watched Christmas Vacation three times this year, I love it. We have also watched This Christmas, which stars Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Regina King, and Chris Brown. These movies keep me company while I'm in the kitchen.

  11. We LOVE Christmas Vacation! We laugh because we have a family member that reminds us of the neighbor and her husband (neat & "perfect") ! My favorite movie is Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck!
    Wow! the Fireplace and living room is fabulous!!!

  12. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Ah, Susan, this is my favorite movie during the Christmas season! I caught a little bit of it on television but I usually pull out the DVD and watch the whole thing commercial-free!

    I think those plaid curtains in the kitchen were one of my favorite parts of this house. Very warm and cozy feeling the way they decorated, although, the next door neighbors' house was quite modern looking inside.

  13. Hands down, totally agree with your Father of the Bride home.

  14. Lizabeth @ Infuse With Liz says:

    Love this movie too! I have my own copy. This movie, Scrooged with Bill Murray, White Christmas with Bing Crosby, any version of the Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol and Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck are my favs. for the holidays!

  15. Christmas Vacation is my very favorite Christmas movie!!

    Rusty *is* watching It's a Wonderful Life

    this website

    http://hookedonhouses.net/2009/12/20/griswold-house-national-lampoons-christmas-vacation/

    has s nice house tour and let's you in on some of the *secrets* of the neighborhood

    I warn you, hookedonhouses.net is ~very~ addictive!!

  16. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Beckie, that's too funny. I was just guessing about the movie. lol Thanks for the link…I'll check it out.

  17. I love it!! Take a look here

    http://gobunt.blogspot.com/2011/12/advent-love.html

    ♥XO♥

  18. Oh, Susan, your commentary is much funnier than the movie!

    My favorite Christmas movie is All That Heaven Allows from 1955 with Jane Wyman as an affluent widow who falls in love with her tree-trimmer, Rock Hudson. The two main interior sets are a mid-century colonial and a restored mill. (It's available on Netflix in both DVD and streaming formats for anyone who might be interested.)

  19. This is definitely on my fav Christmas movie list. My favorite is Love,Actually, followed by this one, A Christmas Story, White Christmas, and A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim (1951). But how could you not take us on a tour of Eddie's RV?????…THAT would a tour to end all tours!

    Thank you…this was so much fun!!

  20. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Tess, I totally forgot about Love Actually…love that movie, too! It has some really poignant scenes that always get to me…like the one where the wife opens the gift thinking it's the heart necklace and it's not. She tries to be so brave. I love how they interweave all the stories throughout the movie.
    Oh. my. gosh. Can you imagine a tour of that RV??? LOL I think you would have to wear a hazmat suit just to read the post via your computer. ;)

  21. Do you know I have never seen this movie? Not surprising, as I never saw A Christmas Story until 1999! I know, I am odd like that! I cannot believe how many people claim that Love Actually is a good Christmas movie! I keep reading this opinion on blogs this year. I saw it once and wouldn't see it again if my life depended upon it — because of those awful scenes with the porn star stand ins! How could a movie be a Christmas classic if you can't show it to children??? Just MHO!!

  22. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Laurie, I totally forgot about those. Those were pretty shocking. They def could have left those out.

  23. My Beautiful World says:

    Great movie have enjoyed so many of these. So nice to meet you just found your lovely blog and so happy I did. I have enjoyed looking around and I'm now following you, if you find a spare minute hope you visit me sometime and follow back if you like. Sending you special wishes for a very Merry Christmas Day and look forward to keeping in touch in 2012

    Always Wendy

  24. Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks says:

    I couldn't see the china close up but it looks a lot like Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles in their pink transferware (which looks red).

  25. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Brenda, thanks! I bet you're right!

  26. This is also one of my favorite Christmas movies…and, of course, I love that amazing house. I am always a little disappointed when I find out
    the houses are sets only. My fav. movie house is Somethings Gotta Give and almost cried when I discovered it was a set. And…the beach house in Two and a Half Men…I would LOVE to live in a house like that…on the beach…SET, tho. bummer.:))
    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family…
    Love to my long-time friend…
    xo bj

  27. Love the photos of the movie. It is a great way to notice things about the house that I miss during the movie itself. I really don't have a favorite holiday movie. I tend to watch whatever I happen to find on tv.

  28. Michele/Ohio says:

    Funny, I JUST watched this tonight, then came to blogland and found this post…..CV is my ALL TIME favorite holiday movie of all time. (Charlie Brown is my favorite short.)

    I watch this every year and laugh and laugh like it is the first time I ever saw it.

    We quote this movie ALL YEAR LONG in my family.

    Fun post, and fun to share that I have seen this movie at least once a year since the year it came out.

    The squirrel in the tree was hilarious.

    And let's not forget MARGO and TODD next door, remember their shiny silver mod sweat suits? Tee hee.

    GREAT movie, warm and cosy house.

    And how about that classic super duper Clark Griswald EXTERIOR ILLUMINATION??!!

  29. Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest says:

    Hi, Susan. Love this movie–we usually watch it the day after Thanksgiving to make the switch and get in the Christmas mood. :) I used to love this center-hall Colonial home, but right now it's in that transition period where it's not old enough to look old, so it's looking a bit tired isn't it? Did you see my post that our son gave my husband the MOOSE PUNCH CUPS?! Oh, my….:) I like the wainscoting up the stairs too, and the LARGE dining room–most homes don't have those large dining rooms, and with a fireplace too! Most movie sets don't use good crystal, but I believe they might have Waterford on their table (what do you think?). I've always tried to figure out the floor plan in the living room/den/TV room, and in the movie it doesn't match up. Now that you've told us it's a set, maybe that explains it. Thanks for the tour!

  30. Michele/Ohio says:

    Another one of my fav Christmas movies- though it isn't ALL about Christmas….The Holiday with Kate Winslet & Cameron Dias, Jude Law & Jack Black. It is a great movie!

  31. Man, I must say this is one of my all time favorite moves for the season. I am not sure why I love this movie so much, perhaps because it is a example of the typical Christmas. We love being around our family for the holidays but the is always the snag or two that seems to throw off the agenda.
    The house is something of an 80's icon IMO. If I get the chance I would love to have a house built with the same floor plan. Speaking of floor plan, does anyone know if there are floor plans on this house?

  32. Home Alone is my personal all time favorite! But for about 12 yrs. straight, Christmas Vacation was the family watch together Christmas tradition. We have recently had to replace it with Christmas with the Kranks as we had the other one so memorized, but we are going to watch it again this year since we gave it a break the past 2 yrs. The Holiday is another personal favorite, but not a family movie with the s_ _ scene. I also really like the Christmas Card that is on Hallmark channel, before Charter so nastily jerked off Hallmark channel after the 1st week of Dec.!!! UGH! ~Jan

  33. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Jan, I never saw the Christmas Card…was that a movie or a special that they ran?

  34. Susan ~ South of Macon says:

    Susan… Thanks for sharing the info on the CV house. It is our family's favorite Christmas movie!

    The Hallmark movie, The Christmas Card, is also very special. The scenery in Nevada City, CA is breathtaking. Not sure if the log house(the family home) is a home… but it should be! As a fan of log houses… this is spectacular. Info on the movie can be found on Google (of course!) and also at http://www.hallmarkchannel.com

    Merry Christmas and many good wishes for a safe, healthy, happy New Year!

  35. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Zuni, I hadn't noticed the crystal…good eye! Those moose cups are a riot…can't believe your son found some…how cool is that! :) Yeah, that's probably why it doesn't seem to match up. They don't realize us house obsessed folks (like me) will actually go to all that trouble to try and figure out a floor plan. lol

  36. Primitive Seasons says:

    That is indeed Norman Rockwell in the lower right hand corner looking back at the viewer. It's his classic hairstyle and color.

    Mary

  37. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says:

    Mary, thanks…I thought that might be him. :)

  38. I love the movie too. My wife gets so flustered when I tell her “that house is on the Warner Bros lot” But it is, along with the Bewitched house, Partridge Family house, I Dream of Jeanie house, etc. The movies he watches up in the attic are on the lawn in front of the Bewitched house. The house is two doors away. If you go here http://www.iamnotastalker.com/2008/03/27/warner-brothers-ranch-here-i-come/ you can see the Christmas Vacation house as well as the “neighbors”. The site is a great go-to source of info about where a scene was filmed or the house that was used.
    rick

  39. Christmas movies start after the Thanksgiving dinner table is cleared at our home; even though the stores are now setting up Christmas before Halloween these days (that’s just wrong). Favorite Christmas movies start with Miracle On 34th Street (B/W of course) on Thanksgiving Day; then through December – Love Actually, The Holiday, A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version), Polar Express, Christmas Vacation, The Family Stone, Christmas With The Kranks, and then It’s A Wonderful (B/W) on Christmas Eve. Our grown children and my husband watched it so many times with me that often now I end up watching it after everyone else has gone to bed; but that’s OK, because I’ll watch it every year (at least once) & love it every time.
    “Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings!” Clarence Oddbody AS2

  40. P.S. Can’t forget The Bishop’s Wife (Carey Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young!

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