‘Christmas Vacation’: 3 Injuries That Would Have Put Clark Griswold In The Hospital (And One That Really Did)

Some of the best Christmas comedies of all time rely on a healthy dose of not-so-healthy stunts for their main characters to endure. Arguably the most popular Christmas movies of the modern era, Home Alone and Home Alone 2, each used painful (and hilarious) setups to prove just how dangerous Christmas can be. But if we’re discussing Christmas movies that used physical comedy (and bent the rules of “real” health and wellness), we have to talk about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

If you’ve seen Christmas Vacation, you know one thing is absolutely true: Clark Griswold should have spent Christmas in the hospital.

Most of his problems would have been physical (look no further than the cover art for the movie), but he probably would’ve experienced some mental health issues, too, after that spectacle. Let’s take a look at some of the real life injuries Chevy Chase’s Clark would have sustained if the movie was realistic. And as an added bonus, at the end of the article I’ll divulge a bit of trivia — what real-life injury did Chase actually receive that required a hospital visit while filming?

A broken nose and a concussion

After finding himself trapped in the attic while attempting to hide the family’s Christmas presents, Clark nearly knocks himself out with the planks laid across the attic floor. He steps on a board and smacks himself in the face not once but three times, which should have turned his nose into a festive cherry cobbler.

Whiplash, and a broken arm

Trying to break the recreational saucer-sled land speed record would have definitely left a mark. Clark smashes through the side of a cabin and a few snow drifts to boot while on the sled, which would have caused some serious neck trauma.

I think we can also safely say that ramming into the toy bin at the local Walmart would have been worth at least a broken arm, too.


If the movie, itself, weren’t so funny, we’d probably all have some post traumatic stress from watching it. The nervous breakdown he endured as evidenced by the post-Jelly of the Month Club outburst proves that whole season probably became a traumatic event for Clark. Are we surprised he took the family to Las Vegas a few years later? I’m not.

It’s funny how the same things that scare us also make us laugh, right? Nobody wants to have the Christmas that Clark endured, and yet, we all want that feeling of family and security that he eventually feels at the end.

So what was the real-life injury that Chevy Chase sustained while filming Christmas Vacation? In the scene when he is trying to light up the exterior of the house and punches the Santa Claus in frustration, he actually broke his pinky finger. A small price to pay for your art, no doubt. Stay healthy this holiday season!

What do you think?


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