Teaching Students About Griswold Christmas

As the holiday season draws near, it is an excellent opportunity for teachers to introduce their students to different customs and traditions. One such tradition worth exploring is the Griswold family’s iconic take on Christmas, as depicted in the popular 1989 film, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Incorporating Griswold Christmas into your curriculum can not only teach students about a unique holiday tradition but also provide them with laughter and lighthearted entertainment.

Begin by providing some context for the Griswold Christmas. Explain that the movie revolves around Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, who goes to great lengths to create the perfect holiday experience for his family. Mention that the movie has now become a classic and serves as a humorous representation of some exaggerated aspects of American holiday celebrations.

Introduce students to key elements of the Griswold Christmas that have become trademarks of this unique family tradition:

1. Over-the-top decorations

Clark’s goal was to cover every inch of his home with Christmas lights. Discuss with students how far people go to decorate their homes for the holidays, and use the movie as an example of how extravagant decorations can become both comical and endearing.

2. Family gatherings

Like many families during the holidays, the Griswolds invite relatives from both sides to spend Christmas together under one roof. Use this as an opportunity to discuss how family reunions can often involve challenges and mishaps, while ultimately being a time of love and bonding.

3. The quest for the perfect gift/turkey

Teachers can encourage comparisons between Clark’s struggle in finding that perfect sentiment for his wife Ellen (played by Beverly D’Angelo) and students’ own experiences trying to choose gifts during the holidays. Additionally, they can discuss Clark’s comical attempts at cooking a turkey and the importance of introducing humor when coping with failures that often occur during major events.

4. Traditions

Discuss how Old World traditions play a role in the movie. For example, Clark’s boss Mr. Shirley (played by Brian Doyle-Murray) is kidnapped and brought to the Griswold home as a nod to the tradition of wassailing, where carolers would demand food and drinks in exchange for singing holiday songs.

5. The importance of staying positive

Despite all the chaos and mishaps that occur throughout the film, Clark’s ability to remain enthusiastic in his pursuit of creating the perfect Christmas for his family becomes an endearing quality. Use this lesson as a means to encourage students to maintain a positive outlook during their own holiday experiences, even when unforeseen challenges arise.

In conclusion, incorporating Griswold Christmas into your curriculum can create a fun and engaging learning opportunity for students during the holiday season. As they explore the unique aspects of this beloved tradition, they will also learn valuable life lessons about resilience, laughter, and creating memories that last a lifetime.

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