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Cheers to You Ellen Griswold

Last night I found myself making love to an eggnog (light) topped with a heavy sprinkle of fresh nutmeg and an ample amount of bourbon.  And by ample I mean like a cup.For the first time in four decades, I’ve run out of holiday energy and aside from stepping on the scale, Mother Christmas (that’s me) can’t wait for January 2.

So what qualifies as me family time during the holidays is sitting on the couch and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Here I was, wallowing in my holiday martyrdom and contemplating a Xanax to chase that eggnog when I bear witness to the super woman that is Ellen Griswold.


If you’re not acquainted, Ellen is the beleaguered wife of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), a hapless, middle class dad who measures his worth thru his ability to provide iconic American Dream experiences for his family.  For Clark, bigger is better, which has him biting off more than he can chew, dragging his family along for the ride and occasionally fantasizing about hot women as he teeters on the brink of a midlife crisis.  Hilarity ensues.  Frankly, he’s a bit of a loser, but I like that about Clark, especially in contrast to the picture perfect of sitcom dads of the ‘80s like Bill Cosby, who was always together and “correct”.

But Clark Griswald would be nothing without Ellen by his side.  She’s his champion, his cheerleader and wingman all wrapped up in early 1980s ashy blonde hotness.

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All I can think of is how I would strangled Clark if I were married to him, let alone had to host his brethren for what seems like the never ending month of December.


Crazy aunt wraps up the cat?  No problem.  “Rusty, just take it to the kitchen” says Ellen.

Turkey so dry in implodes with toxic steam?  Me, I would have hit speed dial for Wondee Siam faster than you could say pad thai.  But not Ellen.  She’s too graceful, generous and kind so chokes her way thru every charred bite to spare the feelings of her sister-in-law.

Tree to big for the house?  Not a problem for Ellen, it’s all good.  Just more tree to love.

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Jelly of the month instead of a bonus check that Clarke already spent on a pool? Nothing but empathy for Clarke’s bruised ego and the unwavering belief that her Clarke is surely on his way to being a Captain of Industry.


She accepts everyone for who they are, and handles every crisis with grace (and an occasional smoke).

And why on earth is Clarke fantasizing about some marginal sales girl when he has ELLEN FRIGGING GRISWALD at home???


And can we talk about her adorable Christmas outfit, with that peekaboo blouse with the fluffy taffeta skirt?  I would so wear that today.

I’ll never be that patient, blonde or foxy (although I’ll try).   So Ellen Griswald, I salute you and your beekaboo Christmas blouse for showing me how low the bar for Christmas can really go, and for inspiring me to not lose my nut, even if someone is emptying their latrine in my sewer.

Cheers to our inner Ellen Griswalds to Keep Calm and Carry On this holiday season.



1 Comment

  1. It took me 50 years to finally undertstand my mother’s “I can’t wait for the holidays to be over”. I can’t wait for the holidays to be over and I might even skip next year. How far am from Ellen??

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