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3 Membership Management Lessons from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks December 7, 2020
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3 min read

I LOVE a good Christmas movie. 

“Home Alone”
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
“A Christmas Story” 

All classics. But perhaps my favorite Christmas movie is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” (If you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY recommend watching it.) Not only is it full of hilarious (and yes, ridiculous) scenes, but if you look closely, there are actually a few valuable lessons tucked away in there as well. 

In fact, here are three membership management lessons hidden in the Christmas classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Lesson #1: Preparation is key

At the very beginning of the movie, Clark Griswold takes his family out in what seems like the middle of nowhere to find the perfect Christmas tree. They endure a pretty eventful (to say the least) car ride to get to the general location of the trees, and then, once there, trek even further by foot to get to “the one.” 

Nearly frozen, they get ready to chop it down and realize…they don’t have an ax. 

All that to say, you could have the best of intentions for something and even a rock-solid idea, but if you don’t put in the time and energy to prepare, you could (and likely will) come up short. 

Lesson #2: Never assume 

Every year, Clark gets a nice holiday bonus at work. This year, anticipating that same bonus, he makes a down payment on a swimming pool as a surprise present for his family. Come to find out, though, Clark’s boss decided to cut the bonuses this year, and instead, gift employees with a one-year membership to the “Jelly of the Month Club.” (Ouch.) 

Though later, Clark’s boss decides to retract those memberships and give employees their standard bonuses instead, this presents an important lesson: Never assume. You could find yourself in a very sticky (and stressful) situation! 

Lesson #3: Know your audience 

When Clark finds out that, rather than a bonus, he’s been given a one-year membership to the “Jelly of the Month Club,” he loses it. He starts going on this rant in front of his whole family about how he wishes he could look his boss in the eye and, well, give him a piece of his mind. 

The problem is, his cousin Eddie takes all of that literally and proceeds to kidnap (yes, kidnap) Clark’s boss so he can look him in the eye, just like he wanted. 

Was Clark being serious when he said all that? Of course not! He was just angry and spouting off. But he didn’t think about who he was spouting off to and that landed him in trouble. 

The takeaway: Know your audience! Be careful with your messaging and try to think seriously about how it might be received. 

So there you have it: three membership management lessons from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” (Kind of makes you want to go watch the movie, doesn’t it?) 

For more membership management best practices to take you into 2021, check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below. In it, you’ll find tips and best practices for membership recruitment, onboarding, non-dues revenue, and more! 

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