“John Hughes knew a thing or two about families. His 1983 film National Lampoon’s Vacation, based on an awful real-life trip he took with his family to Disneyland in the ’50s, establishes the character Clark “Sparky” Griswold, a goodhearted, well-intentioned man who tries so hard to please his family that it results in a couple of deaths. On the surface, 1989’s third Vacation installment, Christmas Vacation, which was based on Hughes’s “Christmas ’59” short story, is about an hapless idiot who fails in every way possible to give his family a merry holiday. The 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights he staples on his house don’t work at first. He is berated endlessly by his father-in-law, and his horrible boss, played by Brian Doyle-Murray, causes Clark to have a small (okay, major) breakdown. The physical humor is unrealistic—especially that hyperbolic sledding scene—but if you distill Christmas Vacation to its core, it’s actually about an honorable man who adores his family and wants to make them happy.”
via ‘Christmas Vacation’ 25th Anniversary – ‘Christmas Vacation’ and the True Meaning of the Holiday – Esquire.