Three theories that will change how you look at ‘Christmas with the Kranks’

It’s the holiday season, which means when I’m not shopping, wrapping gifts or sipping on hot cocoa, I’m watching Christmas movies. (Though I’ve been known to multi-task.) Watching Christmas movies during the holidays is special. It’s fun to re-watch our favorites and recite the lines we know and love year after year.

I just watched Christmas with the Kranks, and while Luther was busy crunching numbers, my mind started to wander. So many parts of the movie suddenly reminded me of, well… other Christmas movies. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to workshop a few theories with you now. Christmas with the Kranks may never be the same!

What if Christmas with the Kranks was a prequel to Christmas Vacation?

Jamie Lee Curtis’s character in Christmas with the Kranks is named Nora. So is Clark’s mother in Christmas Vacation. What if they’re the same person, and these movies exist in the same universe? After all, both take place in suburbs of Chicago.

Hear me out: Nora grew up loving Christmas. She married Luther, they had Blair and her love only grew stronger. They moved to a neighborhood notorious for its Christmas displays, and she stocked up on festive decorations and Christmas turtlenecks. But then, Blair joined the Peace Corps just in time for the holidays, and Luther suggested a full ban on celebrating Christmas. Even though they ended up celebrating at the last minute, that year really took a lot out of Nora, and she never loved Christmas the same way again.

So she left Luther, and eventually met and married Clark Griswold Sr. They had a son together, but wouldn’t you know it? Clark Jr. ended up loving Christmas even more than young Nora did. Which is why every year when the Nora and Clark Griswold come over for Christmas, she’s just not that into celebrating.

A little dark, yes. But if all of this is true, I propose a new movie that brings everyone together, called Christmas Vacation with the Kranks.

Or, what if Christmas with the Kranks was a spinoff of Elf?

Buddy’s Scrooge-y dad in Elf’s name is Walter. The name of the curmudgeon-y neighbor in Christmas with the Kranks? Yep, it’s Walt. Let’s say then that even after Buddy and Walter patched up their relationship, they lost touch once Buddy returned to the North Pole to be with Jovie.

Maybe it was too much for Walter to be a father to one of Santa’s elves. So he eventually retired to Chicago to start fresh, where nobody knew about his ties to Santa Claus himself. Except, where should he end up? In the most festive neighborhood in the entire state. Alas, he goes along with the fun year after year, but isn’t too happy about it.

Or maybe Walter is just a classically Grinchy name that you should consider the next time you write a grumpy character.

One last thought: Were the Kranks and the McCallisters neighbors?

The Kranks live at 1482 Hemlock. And if you ask Google where the real McCallister house from Home Alone is, it’s not hard to find. So imagine my surprise when I typed the two addresses into Google Maps. They’re just a 20 minute drive away from each other! Two families that love Christmas this much? Their paths were bound to cross at some point, right?

Thanks for working through those thoughts with me. I have another half-baked theory that Dan Aykroyd’s character, Mr. Frohmeyer, is a distant relative of Abe Froman (the Sausage King of Chicago, a la Ferris Bueller), but I’ll save that one for another day.

(Images via Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Google.)

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