If 2020 were a Christmas movie, it’d of course be National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, given its anything-that-could-go-wrong-will messaging. It’s fitting, then, that the 1989 comedy classic is the inspiration behind Sam’s Club’s new virtual holiday shopping experience, which went live Wednesday.
After a recent survey revealed that its members were turning more to online shopping amid the pandemic while also looking to start buying their holiday gifts earlier this year, the retail warehouse club owned by Walmart Inc. decided to create a more engaging and festive e-commerce experience for shoppers not quite ready to roam their aisles in person. Now, a partnership with Warner Bros., distributor for the Chevy Chase film, is helping the club give homebound holiday shoppers the “hap-hap-happiest Christmas” since — well, you know.
Meet the “virtual Griswold house” in which the bumbling fictional family’s festive home has been recreated in painstaking detail — and, of course, packed with shoppable items ranging from giant nutcrackers to pumpkin spice cheesecake.
Interactive features abound. Users — who don’t have to be a Sam’s Club member to access the shopping experience — can toggle between decorating theme options (“golden glow or “colorful Christmas,” “merry metallics” or “holiday splendor” and so on) as they move from the front lawn to the foyer to the living room. Clicking on a red button turns up purchasing details and some fun surprises, including trivia about the film and various sound effects (a doorbell, jingling bells, a cat that’s been accidentally wrapped up inside a Christmas present).
Inside, Christmas trees are surrounded by a mix of cult fave finds (Martha Stewart-branded pots and pans, cozy throws) as well as products that wink at Christmas Vacation: a ladder, accompanied by a gift tag for Chase’s accident-prone Clark Griswold from wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), plus dog cookies earmarked for the esteemed Snots the dog.
Scroll on through and you’ll hit the dining room, which is currently stocked with a Thanksgiving feast but will eventually be updated for more Christmas-appropriate fixins. Unlike Clark’s smorgasbord-from-hell (kitty litter Jell-O, dehydrated turkey carcass), these “premium bites” are actually edible: sweet potato mash, pies, charcuterie boards, glazed Brussel sprouts.
Ultimately, this isn’t just a clever way to do some holiday shopping without rubbing elbows with countless strangers during a pandemic. It’s also a reminder that, while this holiday season may not look anything like years past, maybe, just maybe, it won’t be Griswold-bad.
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