Man Recreates Griswold House to Give Kids in Need the Hap-Hap-Happiest Christmas


MICKLETON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" the best holiday movie of all time? 

If you answered yes to that, you may want to stop by Steve Harbaugh's home on Legends Court in Gloucester County, New Jersey where he has once again recreated the full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency that is the Christmas classic.

For the second straight year, the entire house is lit up just like the Griswolds' suburban Chicago home. Clark is even hanging from the roof — that is, a Clark doll — as he puts up his exterior illumination, his ladder nearby.

The lawn is full of props too.

"That's a 1989 Ford Taurus wagon," Harbaugh explained while showing KYW Newsradio around. "We put the wood grain on it, we put the tree on the top with the roots and then we got the cop car, that's an '84 Ford Crown Victoria. We had it decked up like the Chicago PD."

You can't mimic "Christmas Vacation" without cousin Eddie's RV in the driveway.

"That's a 1973 Ford Condor," said Harbaugh, "the original one from the movie, not the one but the same year and evertyhing."

A life-sized Eddie doll is outside in his white robe, smoking a cigar, emptying out his chemical toilet. Harbaugh said the Eddie doll seems to be people's favorite part of the display.

"He's famous," added Harbaugh. "There must be thousands of pictures floating around social media right now with him on it."

Harbaugh wanted to make the people who come to this small South Jersey town of Mickleton to see his display feel like they're in a movie set. 

There's something you wouldn't see in the movie though. Inside Eddie's RV at Harbaugh's house are thousands of toys. Some are being delivered to Saint Christopher's Hospital.

"The balance of the toys that we get from here on out will go to Toys for Tots right here in Gloucester County," said Harbaugh.

Anybody visiting the display is encouraged to bring toys that will eventually go to a child in need. There's also a box set up outside the RV if you don't have a toy, but would like to donate. Harbaugh will take that money and buy more toys before the final Christmas delivery.

"We're getting like $300, $400 a night on the weekends in that thing," he said.

Music and quotes from the movie play while you walk around and check everything out.

"I just think it's really awesome, it's spot on, it's great," said Joanna Lewitt who was taking everything in. "Very accurate, it's really good."

Harbaugh said people come from all over, not just New Jersey and Philadelphia, to see his home. Some even come dressed as their favorite character.