The light show seen from space and the huge Chevrolet station wagon with its oversized Christmas tree had already given Shawn a lot of attention on Turcott’s homage to the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
A tow truck pulled the battered motor home into the driveway of the Turcottes house at 18 Cypress Garden in Stittsville. Turcotte had a life-size excerpt from Eddie, played in the film by actor Randy Quaid as the rough cousin of Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold, to get in the driver’s seat.
« We had hundreds and hundreds of people here when the tow truck pulled up, » said Turcotte, laughing. « Really, it’s been a riot since day one. ”
Turcotte and his wife Chantelle love Christmas. Her house has 12 Christmas trees and he has reserved a whole room for his collection of Christmas decorations. The idea to move the celebration outside came from his daughter Kennedy last year when the family set out to cut their tree.
« My daughter said, » Hey, what are we doing next year? « I said, » I don’t know. What do you think? « And she said, » Why don’t we make a Christmas holiday theme? «
“She looked at me and said, ‘You know, if we do this we have to go all-in. « She threw off the glove. ”
Turcotte was up to the challenge. Anyone who’s seen the 1989 film about the unfortunate Christmas sentimentalist Clark Griswold and his Christmas troubles will recognize Griswold’s car: a boat from a 1979 Ford LTD. Turcotte obtained a similar one – a 1980 Chevy Caprice – in Toronto.
“It was the original owner. He is an older man who could no longer drive. He wasn’t going to sell it to anyone. It had to be a specific person. I promised him we’d take care of it and I would get it back on the road. I told him what we were doing and he loved the idea. ”
Turcotte drove to Toronto and manually hauled the Chevy from a downtown parking garage onto a flatbed trailer that he was towing behind his truck. His father-in-law and brother-in-law fixed it and put it back on the road.
When it came time to find the oversized tree, a landscaping friend – Turcotte is vice president of construction at Mattamy Homes – offered to machine the tree, root ball, and everything from the ground. A photo of the family in their Griswold-style car driving through a fast food thoroughfare was eventually posted on Twitter.
« We took a McDonald’s ride just because our teenagers were unhappy because we hadn’t eaten, » he said. “That really got attention. ”
Turcotte found the RV for sale online from an older owner who was just wanting to get rid of it. It arrived on Wednesday evening, presumably without the overflowing toilet that Cousin Eddie in the film merrily drains into the Griswold sewer.
« It was the same. I told him what we were doing and he thought it was great. I gave him a few dollars for the RV and he paid for the tow from north Montreal straight to our house. He said he just wanted to contribute to what we were doing. ”
For the house’s Christmas lights, Turcotte opted for a series of old-fashioned light bulbs. And like Clark Griswold, he found that the display was putting a strain on his electrical service.
« You can’t connect eight strings in one circuit or you start popping breakers which I did in the beginning. Now I have extension cords everywhere – in the evestroughs, out the windows . . . . We had to plug them into eight or nine different outlets around the house. ”
« We’re getting all kinds of news, » he said. What’s the topic for the next year? Die Hard? Home alone? « It was priceless. ”
Turcotte says the display returned him a few thousand dollars, including the car he plans to keep. But he uses the attention to raise money for the Stittsville Food Bank. A sign on his lawn has a QR code that people can use to donate.
« When we started getting attention, we decided to turn this weirdness into something good and raise some money, » he said.
« There are a lot of people fighting out there. If we can tune in to help others while we are having fun, then it’s worth all of the sweat, blood, and tears that put this together. And given everything that everyone has been through this year, it’s worth every penny. ”
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National Lampoon Christmas Vacation, Christmas Day, Clark Griswold, Stittsville, Cousin Eddie
World News – CA – The Stittsville family is celebrating Christmas with Griswold
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