That’s a honey of a tree, Clark. Stittcottes recreate Griswold Christmas Vacation

It has been a week since Stittsville residents were agog when they spotted the 1980 Chevy Caprice wagon making its way down Main Street with the huge spruce splayed on the roof. Horns were honking, social media lit up – it’s been the talk of the town. That specific tree was specially chosen for inside the Turcotte house. The real feature was the huge blue spruce, root ball included, that plays a significant role in the family’s front yard, along with that Chevy Caprice.

Stittsville’s Turcotte family – Shawn, wife Chantelle and kids Hudson and Kennedy – have been planning for a year to put their Griswold Christmas Vacation into play. The family has always celebrated Christmas with enthusiasm. Shawn told Stittsville Central, “when Chantelle and I had our first apartment, we had one tree, but the next year we found room and it became two”. The family now have 12 trees throughout their home on Cypress Gardens, plus a room dedicated to storing their Christmas decorations.

Last year’s Christmas was big for the family, but daughter Kennedy knew it could be bigger and forced Dad’s hand – “What are we going to do next year Dad? and shared her thoughts on Christmas Vacation”. Needless to say, it went big!

The first step was finding the right car – found in Toronto and towed to Stittsville. It wasn’t running, but Turcotte had some friends work on it and it was soon roadworthy. Next up, finding the right RV. After months of searching, it was found an hour north of Montreal and rolled in December 3 with a crowd awaiting the arrival. An elderly gentleman wanted to get rid of it, so the offer was made by Turcotte – the man even paid for the towing to Stittsville when he knew it was to be used in this stomach-splitting display. Who wouldn’t when you knew it would be Cousin Eddie’s travelling roadshow! And a roadshow it is, with around 1,000 people driving by on Friday night alone.

In our conversation, Shawn stated, “putting this together has been the best we have felt since before the pandemic!…it feels so good”.

And just like Clark Griswold, Shawn admitted that he “did have a few ‘electrical’ problems setting up the light strands – circuit breakers popping – and may have slipped a bit on the ladder”. With some unique solutions, extension cords running in every direction, through windows and eavesdrops, the thousands of bulbs are lighting up the sky. “Is this the airport, Clark?” asked Aunt Bethany.

With the excitement of the past week, one unexpected highlight was the appearance of Stuntman Stu (or was it really Eddie) showing up on Friday. He always knows where the best fun is happening!

Since last Saturday when we shared that first photo of the tree-laden car and mentioned Griswold, Stittsville Central have had a lot of fun and it is obvious from the flurry of posts on local social media that everyone needed Christmas Vacation in our lives this year.

Not only are the Turcotte’s amusing our community with the antics, they are asking those who visit to donate to the Stittsville Food Bank.

A sign with a QR code is set-up on the front yard – just scan with your phone, a bin for donations of non-perishable food items, and a container to collect cash donations. Take in the hilarious display on Cypress Gardens, all the work and thought that went into the re-creation, then donate to our food bank.

“This is so positive for the kids,” said Shawn, “they are seeing the generosity of people donating to the food bank…a life lesson for them”. “They’ll learn to appreciate all that they have while realizing that they are helping people who are less fortunate.”

The Turcotte family have a new decoration for their tree. While we were at the Turcottes on Saturday, Monique Esselmont-Beuree dropped off her decorated version of “Cousin Eddie’s RV” to thank the family for all they are doing to bring joy to Stittsville.

From the tree laden boat of a car, to the RV, thousands of lights and so much more, the Turcotte family has definitely reached the pinnacle of entertainment in this year of the uncertain. The family has brought to Stittsville the much needed humour and raised the spirits of all. We thank you – what’s up for next year?!

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” — Clark Griswold


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