Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: The Unbelievable #1 Must-See Real-Life Spectacle in New Jersey This Year

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Hey there, holiday aficionados! It’s DubG from Mom Versus the World, and today I’m diving headfirst into a yuletide adventure like no other. Grab your homemade eggnog, ladies and gentlemen, as we explore a real-life spectacle inspired by the iconic “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.” This isn’t just any Christmas town; it’s a Griswold Christmas come to life, right here in my own backyard, in the heart of New Jersey!

Turning Tragedy into a Yuletide Triumph

So, here’s a little heart-tugger behind the Harbaughs’ lit-up wonderland. Picture this: it’s 2017, and Steve Harbaugh loses his dad just a couple of weeks after Christmas. Talk about a rough holiday, right? But instead of letting grief get the best of him, Steve, with his wife Gina, decides to channel that sorrow into something, dare I say, spectacular.

“We’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas.” -Clark Griswold

From One Strand to a Full-Blown Village

What started as a single strand of Christmas lights—a nod to his dad’s love for the holidays—morphed into this jaw-dropping Christmas village under the Mullica Hill water tower. And let me tell you, it’s not your average festive display. We’re talking about a transformation from a regular house in Mickleton, NJ, to a full-scale “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” homage. It’s like Steve took Clark Griswold’s energy and cranked it up to eleven.  You can learn more about this unbelievable Christmas village in NJ in my in-depth article here.

Harbaugh Village: The Ultimate Holiday Tribute

In 2021, the house moved from Mickleton to Mullica Hill and built a Christmas village to top off the experience with a holy jolly hoo! This isn’t just a tribute to a classic holiday movie; it’s a living, breathing celebration of Steve’s dad’s (George) memory and a testament to turning a not-so-jolly holiday memory into something that brings joy to, well, everyone.

Harbaugh Village: Where Christmas Gets Real (and Hilariously Bright)

Okay, folks, Harbaugh Village isn’t just your average “deck the halls” kind of place. It’s like Christmas threw up in the most heartwarming way possible. It’s not just about rehashing the laughs from “Christmas Vacation” (though, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good giggle at Clark Griswold’s expense?). This place is about making new memories that are so sweet they could give you a toothache and honoring the old ones that make you go, “Aww, remember when…?” Plus, it’s the perfect spot to spread that holiday cheer we’re all desperately Googling how to find.

A Griswold Christmas on Steroids

Ever seen “Christmas Vacation”? Of course, you have; you’re a person of culture. Now, picture Clark Griswold’s insane light display. Got it? Great. Now, imagine that in your backyard, but like, on steroids. The Harbaugh family in New Jersey are basically the Griswolds’ long-lost cousins, turning their home into a holiday spectacle that makes Clark’s efforts look like child’s play. And yes, I’m totally serious!

Chevy Chase, Eat Your Heart Out

Let’s chat about the legend himself, Chevy Chase. His role as Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is the stuff of holiday movie marathons. And guess what? The Harbaughs in New Jersey are bringing that same zany, light-up-your-life energy to their own display. It’s like walking into your favorite “Cousin Eddie” scene, but without the awkward family interactions.

Living the Griswold DreamCousin eddie from christmas vacation

In Harbaugh Village, Clark Griswold’s spirit isn’t just flickering in the Christmas lights; it’s in the air we breathe. It’s more than just a dazzling display; it’s a stroll down memory lane, with a side of Chevy Chase’s comedic brilliance. It’s like the best lines from “Christmas Vacation” are whispering in the wind, making you chuckle and think, “Man, this is what Christmas is all about.” So, grab your eggnog, folks, and let’s live a little Griswold-style! 🎄✨

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to This Town

And speaking of iconic Christmas figures, let’s not forget the big man himself, Santa Claus. Though he’s been around since well before the “Santa Claus is Comin to Town 1970” movie, here in this festive village, he gets a Griswold-style makeover. It’s a blend of traditional holiday cheer with a pinch of “National Christmas Lampoon” flair.

Where “Christmas Vacation” Quotes Aren’t Just for Your Ugly Sweater

Visiting Harbaugh’s winter wonderland is like stepping into a world where every “Christmas Vacation” quote has come to life. Picture this: you’re wandering through a snowy paradise, and bam! There’s a Clark Griswold zinger on a sign next to a giant inflatable reindeer. It’s the perfect mix of holiday spirit and the kind of humor that makes your eggnog come out of your nose.

Shitter's full


“Shitter’s full!” – Cousin Eddie

Harbaugh’s Spectacle: The Underdog of Christmas Displays

Think of Busch Gardens as Christmas Town. Got it? Great. Now, shrink it down, add a dash of Griswold family chaos, and you’ve got Harbaugh’s spectacle. It’s like the indie film version of a Christmas display—smaller, quirkier, but with a cult following that would make any big-budget attraction jealous.

Chevy Chase Xmas Vacation: A Cultural PhenomenonThe iconic station wagon from national lampoon's christmas vacation

Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation isn’t just a movie; it’s a cultural phenomenon, and the Harbaughs’ display is a testament to its enduring popularity. From “Eddie from Vacation” appearances to “Griswold Clark” antics, it’s a tribute that resonates with fans of all ages.


Embracing the Griswold Family’s Spirit

The true essence of the “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” experience at Harbaugh’s isn’t just in the grandeur of the lights or the meticulous details; it’s in the spirit. The way this “Christmas town” brings people together, evoking laughter and joy reminiscent of “Clark Griswold Christmas Vacation,” is what makes it truly special.

“You serious, Clark?” – Cousin Eddie 

A Visit to Remember

As I plan my visit to this “National Christmas Vacation” spectacle, I can’t help but feel a mix of excitement and wonder. Will I bump into a “Cousin Eddie”? Or perhaps recite some lines from Christmas Vacation with fellow fans? One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a memorable trip to this unique Christmas village.

A Blend of Humor and Tradition

The Harbaugh’s “Griswold Christmas” display is more than lights and props. It’s a blend of humor, tradition, and a sense of community that’s hard to find anywhere else, more so now than ever.  It’s a place where “Santa Claus 1970” nostalgia meets modern-day holiday cheer.

Join Me on This Festive Adventure

As I gear up for this “Christmas holiday vacation,” I extend an invitation to you, my readers. Join me in celebrating the season in true “Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” style. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to live out some of our favorite “Christmas Vacation sayings” together! It’s free to see the house, but general admission for Harbaugh Village is $19.95, plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff. Check out my full post about the destination HERE. 

Where to Watch It the Movie 

You can watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on AppleTV , Fawesome (free),  MaxROW8, or Prime Video. 


From all of us at Mom Versus The World, we’re sending wishes for a holiday season filled with as much laughter and joy as a Griswold family gathering. And speaking of the Griswold’s, I’m in a bit of a Clark Griswold situation here—the holiday bonus didn’t quite pan out this year. But don’t worry, I’m not planning any harebrained schemes to make up for it—at least not yet!

Now, if you’re feeling generous this holiday season and want to support Mom Versus the World, there are a couple of ways to do it. Fancy helping us out with a visit to the ‘Clark Griswold Christmas Experience’? That would be awesome! Or, if you’re in the market for some high-quality, budget-friendly outdoor living goodies, check out one of our earliest supporters, E Oak. They’ve got great stuff straight from the manufacturer—perfect for anyone feeling a little ‘broker than broke’ this year. Your support would mean the world to us, and it’s a great way to enjoy the holiday season in style.