National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation hit theaters in December of 1989 as the second sequel to National Lampoon's Vacation. Unlike many sequels that used a "Christmas version" to tell the same story again, this one had legs. Christmas Vacation became a holiday classic that stood on its own feet. Are there any more body part analogies we could make about the movie? Let's head into some trivia about Christmas Vacation and get knee-deep into the story behind the film.
1. THE MOVIE IS BASED ON A SHORT STORY.
Like the 1983 original, Christmas Vacation is based on a short story, “Christmas ‘59,” written by John Hughes for National Lampoon in December 1980. Its literary predecessor is paid tribute to when Clark is trapped in the attic and pulls out a box of old home movies, including one labeled “Christmas ’59.” (Eagle-eyed viewers might notice that when Clark is watching the film, it actually says “Christmas 1955.”)
3. JOHN HUGHES WASN’T A FAN OF SEQUELS.
Though many of Hughes’ films have spawned sequels, the man himself was not a fan of retreads. “The only sequels I was involved in were under duress,” Hughes once stated in an interview. Though he’s credited as a writer on European Vacation, he said that was only because he had created the characters. “But the studio came to me and begged for another [Vacation movie], and I only agreed because I had a good story to base it on. But those movies have become little more than Chevy Chase vehicles at this stage. I didn't even know about Vegas Vacation until I read about it in the trades! Ever since it came out, people have been coming up to me with disappointed looks on their faces, asking ‘What were you thinking?’ ‘I had nothing to do with it! I swear!’”
Read a lot more about Christmas Vacation at Mental Floss.