In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) gets his wish for a big family Christmas.
When his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) worries that it might not be quite as perfect as he imagines, he says, “Christmas is about resolving differences and seeing through the petty problems of family life.”
He spends the rest of the movie trying to do just that!
Let’s take a look back at the Griswold family’s home from the movie and how it was decorated for the holidays.
Clark Griswold’s House in “Christmas Vacation”
“All my life I’ve wanted to have a big family Christmas.” -Clark Griswold
Christmas Vacation was based on a short story written by John Hughes called “Christmas ’59.”
It was the second Vacation story to be published in National Lampoon’s Magazine (the first was “Vacation ’58,” the basis for the first Vacation movie).
The movie premiered in 1989, and it shows in all of the wallpaper and fabric choices in the house.
The movie was called National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday in the U.K.
When a squirrel gets loose in the house, Clark’s mother faints in the living room and we get a good look at that green carpet:
A sequel may be in the works that would feature Clark and Ellen’s son Rusty as he takes his own children on a vacation.
Johnny Galecki, who played Rusty in this movie, is now all grown up and stars in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
The interiors were filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.
The exteriors were shot on the Warner Bros. back lot in Burbank.
When daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis) complains about having to give up her room to the visiting relatives, Ellen says, “I don’t know what to say except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”
We really loved plaid in the ’80s, didn’t we?
The Upstairs Landing
Clark in the Pink Bathroom:
Eric, who sent me interior photos of the Home Alone house, sent me the scoop on this one, too:
The Griswold house is actually an exterior set on “Blondie Street” on a Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, CA, as is Todd and Margo’s house (the neighbors next door).
The house has been altered a lot to serve other movies, especially the interiors, which are also only a set, not a real house.
In one of the virtual tours on Warner Bros. website, you can see what appears to be the Griswold foyer set as it looks today (update: sorry, they took down the virtual tour).
I took a snapshot to compare the two.
The Staircase in the Movie:
The Staircase Today:
Blondie Street on the Warner Bros. Back Lot
You can see a photo of the exterior of the house as it looks today on the back lot here.
You can tell it’s the Christmas Vacation house by the two chimneys and the attached garage. Windows and colors and a few other things have been changed, however.
According to the Warner Bros. website, Blondie Street was built to look like a typical suburban neighborhood.
It has also been home to many movies and TV series, including Pleasantville, Bewitched, The Partridge Family, and The Middle.
There are 12 residential homes on the street in a variety of styles.
The photo below shows how the street looked in Lethal Weapon:
When Clark watches old family movies in the attic, which are supposedly from the 1950s,
they used the exterior of the old Bewitched house for his childhood home:
How the Bewitched house looked on the sitcom:
The Griswold House Before…
…and After the Lights (Finally) Come On:
Bet you can spot the Griswold house from the sky:
To see what the house looks like on the back lot today, visit the Warner Bros website
where they have a gallery of stills of houses on “Blondie Street.”
Check out my Houses Onscreen page to see the others I’ve featured, listed A-Z.