Cousin Eddie

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by Kay Swatkowski

After hours of wrestling with lights and lawn ornaments, Sparky’s Christmas display was complete.  Audrey, Rusty,Ellen and the in-laws gathered around him for the lighting ceremony. Ellen humored her husband with a drum roll.  At long last, Sparky was going to  have the ideal Christmas he had always imagined.

Sparky’s Christmas cheer was dashed when  Cousins Eddie and  Catherine parked the  ancient, rattletrap RV in the driveway.

Our family has a strange tradition – a tradition I have discovered we share with many families.  Many Thanksgivings, after we have eaten our fill, cleared the table, crammed dishes in the dishwasher and grabbed a piece of pumpkin pie, we move to the family room to talk and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Perhaps, it is the sappy hopefulness of Sparky that draws us back to that movie year after year. Or, maybe, it is the kooky family that we love so much.  Aunt Bethany wrapping up her cat as gift.   Uncle Lewis with his pathetic toupee. Cousin Catherine incinerating the turkey.These characters always make us laugh.

In his own way, the creator of Christmas Vacation was brilliant. We enjoy this movie because he tapped into something we all understand and took it to the absolute extreme.  This movie reminds us that we are all a little kooky.

We watch as one  disaster follows another at the Griswold family Christmas.Cousin Eddie’s impulsiveness and enthusiasm prove to be both a blessing and a curse.  But, in the end, Sparky’s idealism is vindicated as the traumatized family comes to terms with what matters most.

Strangely, in its own silly and lighthearted way, this now classic movie is a good reminder to me.  Our family is not nearly as crazy and dysfunctional  as the Griswolds.

It also reminds me of what matters most.

What matters most to me as we approach the holidays is that our family be together as much as possible, laughing, watching movies, baking cookies, telling stories, enjoying the kids – even if we are a little kooky.

Picture from the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Warner Brothers.

This is not a recommendation for this movie, as there are spots here and there as well as language that many parents would find crass and unsuitable for children.




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3 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    You know without togetherness–we’d be sorely lacking in memories!! I Love being with family through the holidays! Great post Kay!!

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