A hallowed Christmas tradition in the Popper household is the annual re-watching of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. YHC's Chicago origins sweeten John Hughes' signature mixture of hilarious hijinks and poignant tenderness, as Clark Griswold wears a Bears hat and Blackhawks jersey on the weekends while working his 9 to 5 in the John Hancock building during the week. Knowing this film to be a favorite of the Hooch / Bridge / Meathouse crowd as well, YHC dialed up a Christmas Vacation-inspired beatdown to treat the PAX to some of its favorite moments.
Circle up on the bricks for the disclaimer. YHC kicked off a playlist of Christmas Vacation songs and led SSH, Weed Picker, Windmill, Arm Circles Fwd/Bwd, and Michael Phelps in cadence.
Finding the Family Christmas Tree
The first scene of the movie finds the Griswolds driving through the ample mountains of Illinois to find the Griswold family Christmas tree. For reenactment, the PAX attempted to mosey to the Path of Pain where many fine trees live. Alas, we were hindered by the many fences erected near the playground while the Town Center undergoes a facelift. The Bridge lights turned on just in time for Dinghy to spot a gap in the construction site's barriers. The PAX jumped single file through a narrow opening and found the perfect tree, right near the pullup bars.
Hanging the Lights (and Hanging from the Gutter)
After the bickering in-laws arrive, Clark finds an excuse to escape by decorating the house's exterior with 25,000 imported Italian twinkle-lights. While doing so, he climbs a ladder and finds himself dangling from a gutter. For reenactment the PAX did 7's: Alpha-count Step-Ups and Pull-Ups.
Check Every Light, and Dramatically Connect the Wires
The days of work result in an anticlimactic failure of the lights to turn on, and Clark checks every bulb. The PAX reenacted by doing a Bear Crawl back to the playground. Ellen Griswold finally figures out the Christmas lights are on the same circuit as a light switch in the garage, as Clark dramatically connects the extension cords, to the Hallelujah chorus. The PAX reenacted by doing 10 burpees, with overhead clap to connect the cords.
Cousin Eddie Arrives (as does Snots)
After a 10-count, we moseyed single-file back through the opening and around the town green, attempting to get to the jungle gym structure. Alas, the fences foiled this plan yet again and the jungle gym didn't even seem to be present anymore. The PAX modified by doubling back to the new playground structure.
Back to the movie reenactment. While basking in the victory of his phenomenal Christmas display, Clark is stunned to see Cousin Eddie and his clan arrive along with the family rottweiler, Snots. In honor of this destructive duo, the PAX did 11's of Hillbilly Squats and Underdog (supine pullups using the playground structures).
Jelly of the Month Club
For time, we fast-forwarded to the famous Christmas Eve bonus reveal, where Clark learns his long-awaited cash bonus is actually a one-year subscription in the Jelly of the Month Club. Clark's meltdown inspires Eddie to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Meanwhile, the PAX enjoyed a year's supply of JELLY: 12 apiece of Jump Squats, E2K (alpha), Lunges (alpha), LBC's, and Yurpees.
A Kidnapping and a Carol-sing with the SWAT team
Cousin Eddie kidnaps Clark's boss Frank Shirley from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people, and brings him tied up to Clark's house with a big ribbon on his head. The Griswold family melt Mr. Shirley's ice cold heart and secure a 20% bigger cash bonus than last year. The SWAT team arrive to rescue Mr. Shirley, learn of the misunderstanding, and all present join in singing Christmas carols. In honor of this brave troop of enforcers, YHC's next exercise was supposed to be four corners on the town green; but yet again, the construction fences thwarted this plan. So the PAX pivoted to using the movie theater (more fitting anyway) around which to do a Four Corners SWAT: 20 Sumo Squats, 15 WMD Merkins, 10 Alternating Shoulder Taps (Alpha), and 5 Turk-n-Burps.
The Star-Spangled Banner
Cousin Eddie's RV sewer-dumping in the storm drain comes back to bite the Griswold family, as Uncle Lewis's cigar match creates an explosion that sends the lawn Santa and reindeer flying through the air in a fireball of Christmas Cheer. In response the rockets' red glare, Aunt Bethany strikes up a chorus of the Star Spangled Banner, with which the family all joins. The PAX in turn did 12 Star Jumps.
While YHC would have been well within his rights to finish out the time with a second helping of JELLY (the gift that keeps on giving the whole year 'round), YHC showed mercy and the PAX finished out the time with Mary: Gas Pumper, Pickle Pointer, Dying Cockroach, Pickle Pounder.
Santa Ruck 12/9, Menorah lighting at Pigtails' 12/12, holiday party at Feathers' 12/15, Scrooge's annual Xmas beatdown followed by Eggnogteria 12/23.
Many thankful prayers for the improvement in health of numerous PAXs' friends and family. Prayers for work stress ahead of a few PAXs' Christmas Vacations.
Just like how Clark Griswold's fun, old-fashioned family Christmas turned into a total disaster, YHC's beatdown plan could have been thwarted at every turn by the unexpected construction barriers set up all around the town green and path of pain. Amidst the chaos, Clark Sr. coached Clark on how a little help from Jack Daniel's got him through the messy holidays of Clark's youth; amidst the surprises of the morning, the PAX coached YHC on alternative routes and features to keep the beatdown going. Much thanks to this supportive group who I know have got my back, whether that be in real-time beatdown adjustments or in the post-beatdown commiseration over holiday season work stresses. So very thankful for you all.