'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' and  'A Christmas Story' are two classic Christmas movies, both good for multiple reasons, but which is the better movie?  Each has key scenes that make it a classic so let's take a closer look.

Reasons why 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' is better

  • Chevy Chase was at his bumbling prime.  His nervous breakdown in front of the family and his plea for them to stay is the stuff of Christmas movie legend.
  • Two words:  Cousin Eddie.  From draining his septic into the city sewer to his turtleneck, sweater combo, Cousin Eddie is the relative everyone has, is some form or another, in their family.
  • 250 strands of lights.  The climatic scene where the lights come on set the standard by which all other Christmas light displays will be judged.

Reasons why 'A Christmas Story' is better

  • The ultimate quotable Christmas movie.  "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!", "Not A Finger!", " Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian", the list goes on and on.
  • Classic scenes like the crazy, eerie visit to see Santa at the mall, the unveiling of the leg lamp, the tongue on the flagpole, the scene were Ralphie drops an F-bomb, the pink bunny pajamas, etc.  It seems as if every scene is memorable, right down to the visit to the Chinese restaurant at the end of the movie.
  • A truly nostalgic feel.  A Christmas movie that is nostalgic is always great, you can never go wrong with a warm narration to carry you through such a movie.  This movie has a real heart.

My Favorite

After watching both of these movies again, I think the better overall movie is 'A Christmas Story'.  While 'Christmas Vacation' has bigger laughs, 'A Christmas Story' is more consistently enjoyable throughout the entire length of the film.

Also, the 'Christmas Vacation' scenes involving the Griswold's annoying neighbors Todd and Margo almost sink the entire movie for me. They provide nothing to the movie besides making it seemed dated and their scenes are like a horrible SNL skit that refuses to end. How they survived the cutting room floor will forever remain a mystery and they solidify my choice of which is a better overall movie.

If you could only watch one of these two Christmas movies, which would you choose?