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Don’t Be a Griswold This Christmas

Nothing's ever gone perfectly for the Griswolds, but these Family Handyman tips could've set them straight. Not that Clark would've listened, though.

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Don’t Fall Through the Attic

Clark’s issues with the attic run deep in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He’s even got a tough time getting up there to hide presents and an even tougher time once he’s up there in a memorable scene. Here’s what he could’ve done to finish an attic and prevent a fall.

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Don’t Overload Extension Cords

Clark likes to do things his own way and doesn’t mind trying an ill-advised shortcut like when he overloaded the outlets at home for his lighting display that could be seen from space. Here’s how he should’ve prevented an electrical overload and here are the extension cords he should’ve picked up to use.

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“Exterior Illumination”

We’ve learned a lot of great things from dad but exterior illumination wasn’t one of them. Clark should’ve spent some time looking over the ultimate guide to holiday lighting before embarking on a disastrous lighting journey. See how Clark stacks up with some of the most outrageous Christmas light displays of all time.

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Cat’s in the Christmas Lights

You should know all about Christmas tree safety before setting up your tree to keep your pets from getting hurt like Aunt Bethany’s cat. You can also follow these tips to repair Christmas tree lights to prevent any potential issues. 

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Check Every Bulb

Rusty drew the short straw to be tasked with checking every bulb of the 25,000 lights Clark put up. Of course, Clark could learn how to store his Christmas tree lights so they weren’t all balled up by following these Christmas light storage tips.

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Attic Getaway

We’ve covered Clark’s issues with the attic already but he finds it provides an oasis during the insanity of Christmas. He finds it a little cold when he first gets up there and he could take the time to learn how to seal attic air leaks and how to save some money by insulating the attic so he won’t be so dependent on a Christmas bonus. Maybe some day he could turn the attic into one of these 13 unexpectedly adorable attic spaces.

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Catherine’s Dried Out Turkey

Preparing for the holidays if you’re hosting family carries plenty of stress but if you follow this checklist of oven-cleaning tasks you’ll be just fine and won’t have to deal with a dried-out bird. Here’s how to steam clean your oven and how to clean it without chemicals. Just make sure you never do any of these things to your oven, especially as the holidays approach.

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Picking the Wrong Places to Hide Gifts

The attic is clearly not the best place to hide gifts for obvious reasons. Try these incredible Christmas gift-hiding spots instead.

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Eddie and Catherine’s “Tenement on Wheels”

Eddie’s fond of a home on wheels but Clark might be less embarrassed if he showed up in one of these 15 incredible tiny homes you can buy now.

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Keep Your Christmas Tree Hydrated

Snots, Eddie’s dog, follows his own rules and will drink water whenever he can, even if that’s from the Christmas tree. Here’s what you need to do to keep your Christmas tree from dying before Christmas day.

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Prepare for the Elements When Christmas Tree Shopping

If you decide to find your own Christmas tree, make sure it doesn’t turn into an adventure like the Griswolds. Also, be sure you know the best species of Christmas trees before you buy one.

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Be Careful With a Chainsaw

Coming out of your garage wielding a chainsaw and a Jason mask isn’t a good sight for your neighbors. (Psst, here are the things that are annoying your neighbor.) Make sure you follow these chainsaw safety tips if you plan to trim your tree.

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Be a Good Host

The Griswolds weren’t exactly ready when their houseguests arrived, but who ever is. Though Ellen reassures everyone and herself that they have plenty of towels and plenty of everything, here’s a good checklist to have on hand to prepare for houseguests.

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Be a Good Houseguest

Being a good houseguest is an easy way to make the holidays easier on everyone. So don’t pay a surprise visit like Eddie and Catherine this season and follow these tips on how to be a good guest.

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Work Safely on a Roof

An icy roof is the last place you want to be during winter because something can happen just like it did to Clark, though the shooting icicle would be tough to replicate. Here’s how to use a roof safety harness when you do have to do roof work and 25 hints and fixes for gutter issues.

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Don’t Empty an RV Septic System to the Storm Sewer

Clark correctly points out the perils and illegality of emptying an RV septic system into a storm sewer, which we see why it’s a problem at the end of the film. Here’s how you can eliminate basement odors and sewer smells in your home. 

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Practice Christmas Tree Safety

We mentioned the importance of keeping a Christmas tree hydrated but it’s important to keep flames away from a Christmas tree, too. Follow these handy Christmas tree hints to stay safe.

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Don’t Use “Non-Caloric, Silicon-Based Kitchen Lubricant”

Sure you want a fast sled but as Clark all taught us, a little bit can go a long way. Make sure you know the difference between lubricants when you’re doing auto work.

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Know Window Replacement

You don’t expect the SWAT team showing up to your place on Christmas but then again a broken window can happen when you’ve got kids running around the house. Make sure you can replace a window, if need be, or at least get all your window-buying questions answered before you run to the home center for a replacement.

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Keep Pests Out of the House

We all know what happens if you ignore a pest problem and how to prevent a pest problem, which seems all the more important after watching a squirrel wreak havoc on the Griswolds.

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Know Ladder Safety

We talked about issues of working on a roof at anytime and it’s especially important to practice safe ladder use. Don’t be a Griswold and make sure you use a ladder stabilizer anytime you have to get up on one.