Rep. Rick Crawford’s close colleagues have a Christmas card waiting for them at home, which displays the Crawford family as the Griswold family from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
“It’s a little unconventional, I guess, for a member of Congress to do that kind of thing, but you know what? We could probably all use a little bit of levity at this point in time,” the Arkansas Republican said.
His wife, Stacy, was the brains behind the operation.
“I wanted to do this for about three years,” she said. “This takes quite a bit of planning to pull off. Finally this year I said, ‘I’m doing it.’”
She added, “Some congressman would not be willing to do this. He is actually one of the funniest people.”
The family usually gives out a typical, all-smiles photograph of themselves in the district.
“I was like, I just want to do something different, I want to do something funny. Everything is so serious,” she said.
The Crawfords are big fans of the movie. The congressman said they watch it about 15 times over the holiday season.
“It’s hilarious, we love it,” Mrs. Crawford said.
Their young children, though, get to watch the televised version of the movie so it’s appropriate.
“The kids were not on board at first because they hadn’t seen it as much,” Mrs. Crawford said. “We quote the movie year-round.”
She went through every detail to turn her family into Clark, Ellen, Audrey and Rusty Griswold.
“Of course everybody’s seen the movie, but she went through it in great detail to make sure that I had the right kind of sweater on and I had the right colored shirt on and I had all the elements there,” the congressman said. “If you look real close in the picture, there’s a squirrel on my shoulder.”
He also was holding Griswold’s infamous mug, the Marty Moose Mug.
His friend, who owns a car dealership in the district, had an old station wagon with a Christmas tree on it as a decoration. The Crawfords spotted it and asked to borrow it because it looked like the “Family Truckster.”
“They kept it running the whole time. I think they were afraid if they turned it off it wouldn’t start back up,” Mrs. Crawford said. “We sent them a big pizza lunch for doing [that].”
For Ellen’s green taffeta skirt, she went to Hobby Lobby to get material and had her friend make it. Other details weren’t so difficult.
“I realized that I still kind of wear my hair that way,” she said.
She wasn’t totally satisfied with her son Rusty’s outfit. When she re-watched the movie, she noticed that Clark wore a white Blackhawks jersey and Rusty wears a red one. And her daughter’s headband didn’t totally match the skirt for her Audrey outfit.
“I tried to get everything down to the exact detail,” she said.
“We had fun with it,” the congressman said.
Once it was all planned, a photographer friend came over for the shoot that lasted about an hour.
So far, the congressman’s friends are texting him about the card and he says he’s “getting good reviews.”
“We sent them out to the members, and I imagine they’ll this week probably start seeing it and we’ll get some feedback,” he said.
What will the Crawford family do next year?
“We’ve talked about that. I hope we haven’t jumped the shark on this one but… there’s two or three movies that are kind of classics that you might try to replicate to some degree,” he said. “‘A Christmas Story’ comes to mind, maybe something like that. ‘Elf’ is another one.”
He knows Stacy will come up something.
“I spent three months planning this sucker,” she said. “I’m hoping we’ll come up with something good.”