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What National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Taught Us About Fire Safety

Christmas Vacation

As Christmas edges closer once again, we are faced with tons of holiday-themed movies that feature everything from a human who thinks he’s an elf to a department store Santa Claus believing he’s the real deal to a hardened toy executive actually becoming Santa Claus. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fun comedy, tear-jerker, or slightly scary story about Krampus.

These movies aren’t just for fun, though. Sometimes, a film comes along that serves as a great lesson for holiday safety. We are, of course, speaking of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Heralded by many to be the best (or at least second best) of the Vacation movie franchise, this film starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo is full of fire safety warnings. Here a few fire safety tips that you can easily glean from the movie:


Christmas tree on fire Abbotts Cleanup and Restoration ColoradoBe Mindful of a Live Christmas Tree

We doubt very highly that anyone reading this is planning to venture into the woods with the family to chop down your own Christmas tree, especially one that’s anywhere close to as big as the one Clark Griswold brings home. That being said, this is a perfect example of why you need to be mindful of a live tree in your home at all times. These trees get dry pretty quickly and have been known to catch fire, with the ensuing flames spreading like… well, like wildfire, quite honestly. For the sake of safety, it’s best to go with an artificial tree, but if you absolutely must have a live tree in your home, please be sure to give it plenty of water and keep it away from electrical cords (except for lights, since that’s unavoidable) and anything that’s especially flammable.


electrical firesDon’t Plug In Too Many Things

Anyone who has seen the movie probably remembers the ridiculous collection of plugs being forced into one outlet. This kind of thing might as well have “fire hazard” slapped across it. We implore you to avoid plugging more than the suggested number of items into an outlet at one time. You can get away with plugging in extenders that turn one outlet into two or three, but if you want to do more than that, be sure to utilize a surge protector with multiple outlets. And, never, ever plug an extender into another extender. That’s just asking for trouble.


Replace Your Colored Bulbs, If Needed

No one who watches National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation will soon forget Clark Griswold trying his best to light up, per the man himself, “a total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights.” We don’t expect you to have a collection that big, but the truth is that Christmas lights can create a fire hazard if they’re not handled properly. Most of us just pack these lights away and plug them up the next year. But what you really need to do is check for any fraying or other damage that has occurred from their use, especially in cases where the lights have been bundled up and tangled (which the movie doesn’t really exaggerate too much). If there’s any question as to their safety, it’s best to replace them immediately. We promise that the next batch will look just as good!


Watch Out for Other Safety Hazards

We simply can’t get through this post without bringing up the uncle who lights his cigar only to destroy the Christmas tree due to an accumulation of methane gas. While it’s not likely that you’ll experience an issue with sewer treatment over the holiday, lit cigarettes and cigars do create a fire hazard. With all the commotion that typically follows a holiday, being more careless than usual is bound to happen. This is not something to take lightly, though. It doesn’t take long for a lit cigarette or cigar to catch something on fire if it’s dropped between couch cushions or somewhere similar. Also be sure that you have CO detectors (the number is determined by the size, number of stories, etc.) installed in case there are any problems with your furnace, fireplace insert, or other gas appliances. Carbon monoxide really is “the silent killer.”


The folks here at Abbotts Fire & Flood want everyone’s holiday to be safe and sound. We hope you have a blast with your relatives throughout the holidays and that everything goes off without a hitch. But if something bad happens and you need assistance, we are just a phone call away to help. Call us 24 / 7 at 303-975-4000.


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