31 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' Facts Fans May Not Have Known Before Now

We all have our favorite holiday movies, but there are some that are really considered classics that many people watch each year.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation might not be the most traditional Christmas movie, but it is one of the funniest.

If you love the movie, you'll love learning these 10+ facts about National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We bet you haven't heard of these before!

It was one of only two Christmas movies released that year.

There are many Christmas and holiday movies, but there were only two that came out the holiday season of 1989.

The other was Prancer. Funnily enough, actor Johnny Galecki, who plays Rusty Griswold, was also in Prancer.

However, most people probably recognize him from his more recent role in The Big Bang Theory.

It's based on a short story.

John Hughes wrote a short story called "Christmas '59" for the National Lampoon magazine.

This short story was written in December 1980, and it would later become the basis for the film that we all know and love.

Some of the scenes were shot in Colorado.

The film might be set in Chicago, but this isn't where it was filmed. While many of the scenes were shot in California at Warner Brothers Studios, the Christmas tree hunting scene was shot in Colorado.

The sequences were shot in the Breckenridge area which is quite far from Chicago!

Clark's boss is Bill Murray's brother.

In the film, Clark's boss, who is named Mr. Shirley, is actually played by Brian Doyle-Murray. Most fans might not realize that he is actually Bill Murray's brother.

Brian was also featured as the camp clerk in the original National Lampoon film.

The cast reunited for Old Navy commercials.

Unless you're a really big fan, you probably don't remember that the actors who played the Griswolds got together again to film Old Navy commercials a few years ago.

The actors were there to sell some holiday sweaters while referencing the film.

The movie's director is on the cover of the magazine Clark reads.

In the scene where Clark and Ellen are in bed, Clark is reading People magazine. While fans might have tried to figure out who was on the cover, it's actually the director of the movie, Jeremiah Chechik.

It's a clever nod to the director and one that most people probably missed.

Clark's childhood home was used in other films.

The childhood home that is featured in the movie might look familiar to some viewers, and this is because it's part of the back lot of Warner Brothers.

The set was also used on Bewitched and The New Gidget. This set is probably more familiar with older viewers, but it's still interesting to note.

The neighbor's home was featured on *Lethal Weapon.*

While in the movie the neighborhood might look real, it's actually all a set on the studio back lot.

The home of the Griswolds' neighbors, Todd and Margo, might also look familiar to viewers. This is because it's the home where Roger Murtaugh's family lived in Lethal Weapon.

Roger Ebert didn't like the movie.

While fans over many decades now have loved the movie and consider it a classic, not all critics did.

The famous film critic Roger Ebert only gave the movie two stars, saying, "Sequence after sequence seems to contain all the necessary material, to be well on the way toward a payoff, and then it somehow doesn't work.”

The director hadn't seen a _Vacation_ movie.

The director of Christmas Vacation, Jeremiah Chechik, might have landed this job, but he had never watched any of the other films in the franchise.

He said in an interview that he took the job because he hadn't directed a comedy before and thought it would lead to more opportunities.

Fans just had to accept there were new actors for the kids.

Since six years had passed since National Lampoon's Vacation and the Christmas sequel, the children had to be recast.

Anthony Michael Hall was replaced by Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis took over from Dana Barron.

Fans just had to accept that it didn't make a lot of sense.

Chevy Chase kept Clark's pajamas.

Fans will remember that Clark wears a pair of matching dinosaur pajamas in the film.

Chase actually kept those iconic pajamas, and he owned them at least until 2015 when he joked that, "I haven't washed them," in an interview with WHOSAY.

It was almost number one at the box office.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation opened in theaters on December 1, 1989.

It almost got the top box office spot, but it was edged out by Back to the Future Part II which had opened the week before.

John Hughes didn't want to do all of the sequels.

While there are many National Lampoon sequels, John Hughes wasn't really here for them.

He said that he only agreed to do European Vacation because they were his characters, but he didn't support the other later sequels such as Vegas Vacation.

Chevy Chase broke his finger during filming.

In the scene where Clark is destroying Santa's sled after he can't get the Christmas lights working, the actor ended up with a broken pinky.

“I had to keep kicking because it hurt so much,” Chevy Chase said in an interview from 2015.

Johnny Galecki could've had a heart-to-heart scene with Chevy Chase, but decided against it.

According to an interview Johnny gave with Rolling Stone, the scene in question had been cut before filming ever began.

When Chevy asked if he would be interested in reprising it, Johnny declined for fear that all the hard work would be for nothing.

This was director Jeremiah Chechik's first feature film.

Before being tapped to direct Christmas Vacation, Chechik's work was mostly confined to TV and advertising. Can you imagine being given the daunting task of directing Chevy Chase for your first film?

Kudos to Jeremiah.

Chevy Chase was terrified during the toboggan scene.

According to Chevy, there was a ton of snow the day they were due to film the big sled scene.

The legendary comedian recalled nearly hitting trees several times over while traveling at break-neck speeds.

It took time for the cast and crew to adjust to the difference in altitude.

Several of the scenes for Christmas Vacation were actually shot in Colorado, not in Chicago.

Johnny Galecki has said that filming during this time was especially difficult. The air was so thin, you'd be winded just from tying your shoes.

Rusty and Audrey are only a year apart in real life.

I couldn't believe it myself. I actually had to use Google and IMDb just to be sure.

In the film, Audrey (Juliette Lewis) has a good two feet in height over Johnny Galecki, which is probably why he appears to be so much younger than he is in reality.

Chevy Chase took Johnny Galecki under his wing.

There are a lot of horror stories that involve Chevy Chase, so it's nice to hear that Johnny has such fond memories of his time spent with the iconic comedian.

According to Johnny, Chevy worked with him to nail his comedic cues.

Chevy and Beverly D'Angelo were incredibly close both on and off camera.

This should come as a surprise to no one, you just can't fake that kind of chemistry.

According to Chevy, Beverly is also incredibly close friends with his wife.

The studio wanted nothing to do with electrocuting a cat.

At the time, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding how the audience would react to seeing a cat lit up like a Christmas tree.

John Hughes had to step in at the last minute and save the scene.

They used a real squirrel for the chase scene inside the house.

Supposedly, the original plan was to use a trained squirrel. Sadly, the little critter passed away before he ever got to film his scene.

The crew opted instead for a wild untrained squirrel, which led to utter chaos on set.

Nobody seemed to notice Beverly's hand on Chevy's crotch.

At the end of the movie, when the Griswolds have their house raided by the police, they're told to "Freeze!" and everyone strikes a pose.

Beverly D'Angelo was never supposed to put her hand on Chevy's crotch, she just thought it'd be funny.

No, the cast doesn't watch *Christmas Vacation* during the holidays.

I wouldn't hold it against them if they did, although I can understand why they would not.

Chevy Chase watching Christmas Vacation would be like Jay Z staying in on a Friday night, listening to deep cuts from The Black Album.

Chevy Chase's favorite line of dialogue probably won't surprise you.

One of Chevy's favorite lines was always "Have you checked our [expletive], honey?"

Without a shadow of the doubt, it's one of the most iconic lines of dialogue from any Christmas movie; past, present, or future.

Even Johnny Galecki's friends forget that he's in *Christmas Vacation*.

I've literally seen this movie probably close to 30 times, yet I somehow always have the same moment of revelation: "Oh my gosh, it's Leonard from The Big Bang Theory!

At least I know I'm not the only one.

There was an earthquake captured on camera!

It took me a couple of times watching and playing the scene back to be able to see it. Watch as Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis come walking through the door.

You should be able to see a very slight shaking of the camera.

Don't compare *Christmas Vacation* and *It's A Wonderful Life* in front of Chevy Chase.

According to Chevy Chase, Jimmy Stewart is the greatest actor to ever have stepped in front of a camera.

He doesn't take it lightly when fans put the two films on the same pedestal.

There's a hidden *Vacation* Easter egg that you might have missed.

The next time you watch, pay close attention as Clark goes up into the attic to hide Christmas presents. When he finds the old Mother's Day gift in the crawlspace, the year says 1983.

This is the same year that the first Vacation film hit theaters!