Ryan Thomason

Elf Vs Christmas Vacation: The Battle for Christmas

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Nearly everyone I know that has some sort of Christmas tradition, or something they HAVE to do at least once, or twice. That is watch the comedy classic for the season, Christmas Vacation, starring Chevy Chase. Everyone knows what it is like to have a Griswold Christmas, see the blinding Christmas lights on their house, watch Clark go sledding down a hill so fast it leaves fire in the snow. And there is always that seductive woman who almost bares it all, only to have Clark interrupted from his daydreams right before the money shot. I think in the next decade, this movie will be moved aside for the new Christmas comedy juggernaut, and that is Elf starring Will Farrel and directed by Jon Favreau.

Yes, I grew up watching Christmas Vacation every year at least three to five times around the holidays. My dad is a fan of comedy movies, and if this one didn’t fit the mold for my family, nothing else could have, it just worked so well with our VCR or one satellite TV. I have fond memories of sitting on the ground in the morning with a cup of hot cocoa, watching this movie. Though it seems that the past couple of years I’ve only been finding myself watching Christmas Vacation once during the Holidays. Elf has taken over the #2 slot on must see Christmas movie viewing (#1 will forever, always be A Christmas Story) I think the story of buddy the elf, and his mission to meet his dad after he finds out that he is actually a human living with elfs in the North Pole. Directed by Jon Favreau, this movie is Will Farrel at his peak, when his comedy was the gold standard and everything with his name on it was a for sure hit. This movie is more relate-able to my generation, and the comedy is something that we easily get. I don’t think the type of humor that you find in Christmas Vacation is relatable to the younger crowd these days. My age group was probably at the cusp of the last people who appreciate what Christmas Vacation has to offer. It’s old though, and dated. Elf is something fresh still, and there are more quotable liners in it that will get a chuckle out of a group of friends than if you were to quote Christmas Vacation.

Another thing that Elf has going far better for itself than Christmas Vacation is the music. I can only actually recall a couple of songs off the top of my head. The trombone being played as Clark’s cousin Eddie is emptying out the shitter from his RV that he has parked in the driveway into the sewer drain. And, well, that’s it right now. I have the CD for Elf in my car, not year around mind you, but right after Thanksgiving, my wife pulls it out of the Christmas box, and we have it playing. I find myself humming most of the songs from the movie at work, and outright singing in the car with my wife, or unashamed by myself. The music in Elf is far better, catchier, and just outright more memorable.

In closing, I’ll still watch Christmas Vacation at least once during the Holidays, but it is Elf that well be the one getting the multiple viewings. My wife LOVES Elf, and I think it is something that will be a no brainer that my kids will get to watch at any age and understand the basics of what is going on. You have to be a little older to fully understand Christmas Vacation, and I think in the end, that will be it’s demise as a staple in nearly every household come Christmas time.

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