Unbreakable: 6 Dreadful Injures Clark Griswold Should Have Suffered In ‘Christmas Vacation’

by Jason Gross @SockofFleagulls

After the initial viewing of my favorite holiday movie this year, I came to a conclusion that hadn’t hit me before…Clark Griswold should’ve spent Christmas in the hospital.

For as many bumps as he took, like falling off a ladder and a rooftop, he really should have sustained multiple injuries (some serious) throughout the film. Most would have been physical afflictions, but I also suspect some mental trauma after experiencing the holiday from hell. I count at least six instances where Clark would’ve required some medical attention or even an ambulance trip to the ER. See if you agree with the following injures:


Chest and Abdominal Abrasions with Possible Rib/Sternum Fracture

Although life saving, seat belts can cause injury during front end collisions. After launching the family truckster over a snow bank in the opening scene, it collides with the “trees” sign and plummets head-on into a snow bank.

Clark could have easily come away with a nice lengthy abrasion from his shoulder to his abdomen thanks to the seat belt. Depending on the impact, fractures of the sternum or ribs are also common seat belt injures. However, he’s typically a safe, courteous driver:


A Broken Nose and a Concussion

After becoming trapped in the attic when attempting to hide Christmas presents, Clark nearly knocks himself out with the planks laid across the attic floor. He steps on a board and whacks himself in the face three times which should have made his nose look Rudolph’s after a prize fight with Sugar Ray Leonard.

Then, in an attempt to get the family’s attention, he punches the bottom of the swivel attic vent which could have easily left a nice welt on top of his head.


Various Scrapes to Hands, Arms, and Face

There are a couple of  instances where Clark finds himself on the inside of a fir tree. And although the needles on these trees are typically not sharp, falling in one from a rooftop would probably mean several scrapes from branches to his exposed hands, arms and face.

He also likely got scratched up when unleashing the Griswold Family Christmas Tree in the living room.


Whiplash and a Broken Arm

Achieving (or attempting) the amateur recreational saucer sled land speed record would have definitely come at a price. Smashing through the side of a cabin and various snow drifts should have caused some neck trauma.

Safe to say ramming into the toy collecting bin in front of the local Walmart should have been worth at least a broken arm as well. A gift to Clark that would’ve kept on giving over the next month would have been a sling and a neck brace.



Frustrated that the 250 strands of imported Italian twinkle lights are not working, Clark voliently whips the extension cords in the lawn like he’s trying to rope cattle. For someone who works in an office all day, this action would most likely cause inflimation of the rotator cuff and bicep tendons in his arms and shoulders.

Upon waking the next day he should have felt like he tried to play tug-of-war with the “tenement on wheels”.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

After a Christmas like Clark experienced, even though he did acknowledge that he made it through the holiday, I have a strong speculation he would be afraid to gather the extended family on Christmas again.

The nervous breakdown as evidenced by the post-Jelly of the Month Club speech proves the occurrences experienced that week became a traumatic event for Clark. Frankly, I can’t blame him for taking the trip to Vegas to block out this hellacious Christmas experience.


Jason Gross (@SockOfFleagulls) is the creator of Rediscover the 80s and loves to subject his two sons to cartoons, TV, movies, and music from the decade. Currently promoting a M.A.S.K. live-action movie script (co-writer), he enjoys freelance writing about 80s music & pop culture.

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