Prior to his film career, John Hughes worked in advertising and wrote short comedies on the side to flex his creative muscles (via The New York Times). One of Hughes’ short films, “Vacation 58”, was published by National Lampoon magazine in 1979, and then adapted into the 1983 film “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. The movie earned 61 million and introduced the world to the shenanigans of the Griswold family. The second film in the series, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, was less successful, but Hollywood remained interested in Hughes’ Griswold tales, especially those centered on Christmas.
After making the first two films in the series, executive producer Matty Simmons told Rolling Stone in a 2020 retrospective that he’s turned his attention to another Hughes short, “The 59th Christmas.” In 1989, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation became Griswold’s most successful film (earning 74 million worldwide), despite being the last in the series, it still generated plenty of holidays