It’s the official start of the countdown to Christmas. And it’s the anniversary of the release of one of our favorite Christmas movies — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And since the film was released in 1989, today is the film’s 30th anniversary.

The third film in Vacation franchise, Christmas Vacation was the directorial debut of Jeremiah S. Chechik, who went on to direct Benny & Joon and The Avengers. (Not that one.) It was written by John Hughes, who created the Vacation series with his screenplay for the first movie based on an article he had written in National Lampoon magazine. It once again starred the immortal Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as Clark and Ellen Griswold. Their kids were played by different actors in basically every movie; in this one, they were Juliette Lewis’ Audrey and Johnny Galecki’s Rusty.

Christmas Vacation is pretty much the last moment the franchise was universally beloved. It was the last film in the series written by Hughes; it took eight more years for another sequel, the so-so Vegas Vacation, and another 18 years for the next (the abysmal Vacation with Ed Helms playing the grown-up Rusty). And in between there was a direct-to-video spinoff, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure starring Randy Quad, which ... yeah.

The original still holds up, though. Here are a few of the highlights from the movie:

If you want to celebrate with even more Christmas Vacation, the link below will take you to Amazon, where you can rent or buy the film. Happy holidays, and happy 30th anniversary to the Griswolds. (We’re still not going to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Vegas Vacation, sorry.)

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