Ellen Griswold Costume Guide

With the festive season upon us, what better way to celebrate than by embracing the holiday spirit in true "National Lampoon's Vacation" style? This Christmas, step into the role of Ellen Griswold, the iconic and loving matriarch of the Griswold family, played memorably by Beverly D'Angelo. This guide offers a detailed walkthrough for creating an Ellen Griswold Christmas costume, perfect for holiday parties or family gatherings. Embody Ellen's elegant yet practical style as you bring to life the warmth and humor of this cherished character.

Ellen Griswold Costume Essentials

You will need the following items for your Ellen Griswold Halloween costume:

  1. Vintage Flared Midi Skirt
  2. Ruffle Trim Button Shirt
  3. Control Top Pantyhose
  4. Crystal Rhinestone Brooch
  5. Kitten Heel Pointed Toe Pumps
  6. Ellen Griswold Costume

Ellen Griswold, the cornerstone of the Griswold family, is celebrated for her pragmatism and composure, often serving as a stark contrast to her husband Clark's whimsical and over-the-top behavior. Nonetheless, she fondly calls him "Sparky" and is the unwavering pillar of support in his endeavors, whether it's the ambitious task of cutting down a massive Christmas tree or festooning their home with lavish holiday decorations. Despite the hiccups and chaos that Clark's schemes bring to their vacations, Ellen finds joy in both planning and being a part of these family adventures.

To replicate Ellen's iconic style, consider a green pleated midi skirt paired with a ruffle-adorned blouse, and complement the ensemble with chic black kitten heels. This attire perfectly captures Ellen’s blend of practicality and her zest for life, making it a great choice for a Christmas-themed event.

How to Dress Like Ellen Griswold for Christmas

Ellen Griswold Halloween Costume

Celebrating Christmas as Ellen Griswold from "National Lampoon's Vacation" means capturing her classic, stylish essence. Ellen's attire reflects her role as a loving, nurturing figure amidst the family's chaotic adventures. This guide will detail how to assemble an Ellen Griswold Christmas costume, perfect for bringing a touch of holiday cheer and sophistication to any festive gathering.

  1. Elegant Holiday Dress: Choose a midi-length dress in a festive color like red, green, or even a tasteful Christmas pattern. Ellen's style is elegant yet comfortable, ideal for a family holiday setting.
  2. Cozy Cardigan or Blazer: Layer your outfit with a classic cardigan or blazer. This not only adds to the holiday look but also keeps you warm in true Ellen fashion.
  3. Sensible Yet Stylish Footwear: Opt for comfortable kitten heels or festive flats. Ellen’s footwear is always practical yet fashionable, perfect for holiday activities.
  4. Classic Holiday Accessories: Accessorize with pearls or a tasteful brooch to add a touch of class. Ellen's accessories are always understated yet beautiful.
  5. Final Touches: Complete the look with a stylish handbag and perhaps a festive scarf or headband, channeling Ellen's flair for accessorizing.

Ellen Griswold Cosplay

Nick and Vanessa Lachey as Clark and Ellen Griswold
Nick and Vanessa Lachey as Clark and Ellen Griswold

Channeling Ellen Griswold at a Christmas party involves more than dressing the part. It’s about capturing her essence - her loving, patient demeanor, and her ability to keep the family together amidst chaos. Here are five steps to help you embody Ellen’s character during the festive season.

How to Act Like Ellen Griswold at a Christmas Party:

  1. Be the Heart of the Party: Ellen is the glue of the Griswold family. At the party, take on a nurturing role, ensuring everyone is having a good time and feeling included.
  2. Maintain a Calm Demeanor: Even in the face of holiday chaos, Ellen stays composed. Emulate this by keeping a cool head during any festive frenzy.
  3. Show Enthusiasm for Family Traditions: Display genuine excitement for holiday traditions, just as Ellen would when planning family activities.
  4. Join in the Fun: While she’s practical, Ellen also knows how to have fun. Don’t shy away from joining in on party games or dancing.
  5. Use Iconic Ellen Lines: To truly embody Ellen, sprinkle in some of her memorable lines from the movie in your conversations, adding humor and authenticity to your portrayal.

By dressing and acting like Ellen Griswold this Christmas, you'll not only pay homage to a beloved film character but also bring a touch of her warmth and charm to your holiday celebrations.

About Ellen Griswold: The Heart of the Griswold Family Christmas

Ellen and Clark Griswold

As Christmas approaches, embracing the character of Ellen Griswold from "National Lampoon's Vacation" offers a unique way to celebrate the season. Ellen, portrayed by Beverly D'Angelo, is more than just the wife of the bumbling Clark Griswold; she is a character who embodies patience, love, and a subtle wit. This section delves into the qualities that make Ellen Griswold an endearing figure for a Christmas costume guide.

Ellen's Role in the Griswold Family

Ellen serves as the voice of reason in the Griswold family. Her character balances out Clark's often over-the-top enthusiasm for family vacations and holiday preparations. She is the calming presence that guides her family through their comedic misadventures.

Character Traits and Style

Ellen Griswold's style is classic and elegant, yet always with a touch of practicality. She often appears in well-tailored outfits that are both stylish and suitable for her role as a busy mother. Her fashion sense exudes a timeless charm, making her an ideal character for a Christmas costume.

Ellen's Enduring Appeal

Ellen's appeal lies in her relatable nature. Many viewers see in her the quintessential loving mother and supportive spouse, making her a character that resonates with a wide audience. Her ability to maintain grace under pressure and her loving interactions with her family make her a heartwarming figure to emulate during the holiday season.

In embodying Ellen Griswold for a Christmas costume, one embraces not only her classic style but also the warmth and humor she brings to the holiday season. Ellen's character offers a delightful blend of sophistication and maternal care, perfect for those looking to capture the spirit of a family-centered Christmas.

Who Should Consider the Ellen Griswold Christmas Costume Idea

Ellen Griswold Outfits

Embracing the character of Ellen Griswold for a Christmas costume is a delightful idea, perfect for those who resonate with her persona. This section explores who would best suit stepping into the shoes of this beloved character from "National Lampoon's Vacation" during the festive season.

Fans of the Movie and Classic Style Lovers

If you're a fan of the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series or have an appreciation for classic, elegant fashion, Ellen Griswold's Christmas costume is an ideal choice. It allows you to celebrate the festive season with a nod to a classic film character known for her chic and timeless style.

Those Who Value Sophistication and Comfort

Ellen's attire, while sophisticated, also prioritizes comfort, making this costume perfect for individuals who want to look stylish without sacrificing ease and practicality during holiday festivities.

People with a Nurturing and Warm Personality

If you naturally embody a nurturing and warm demeanor, akin to Ellen's character, dressing as her for Christmas will feel both comfortable and authentic. It's a great way to express these qualities during holiday gatherings.

Mothers and Family Matriarchs

Ellen Griswold is a character many mothers and family matriarchs can relate to. Her balance of managing family dynamics while maintaining her own sense of self makes this costume particularly appealing to those in similar roles.

Who Should Think Twice About the Ellen Griswold Christmas Costume Idea

While the Ellen Griswold Christmas costume has its charm, it might not align with everyone's taste or preferred style. This section considers who might want to think twice before choosing this costume for their festive celebrations.

Those Preferring Modern or Trendy Attire

If your style leans more towards contemporary, trendy fashion, Ellen’s classic and understated look might not align with your preferences.

Individuals Seeking Bold, Attention-Grabbing Costumes

For those who enjoy making a dramatic, attention-grabbing statement with their Christmas attire, the subtlety of Ellen Griswold’s costume might fall short of their expectations.

Fans of More Fantastical or Theatrical Characters

If you are drawn to costumes that are fantastical, heavily themed, or theatrical in nature, the realistic and down-to-earth style of Ellen Griswold might not provide the creative expression you seek.

Adventurers and Eccentric Personalities

Individuals who identify with more adventurous, eccentric characters may find Ellen's more reserved and pragmatic persona less exciting to portray during the festive season.

In summary, while the Ellen Griswold Christmas costume is a wonderful option for those who admire her classic elegance and warm personality, it's important to consider your personal style and the type of character you wish to embody during the holiday season before settling on this charming and sophisticated costume.

Additional Tips for Perfecting Your Ellen Griswold Costume

Creating an Ellen Griswold costume for Christmas involves more than just assembling the outfit. It’s about paying attention to the details that make her character come alive. Here are some additional tips to enhance your Ellen Griswold costume, ensuring you embody her style and spirit perfectly for the festive season.

Attention to Detail

  1. Hairstyle and Makeup: Ellen often sports a practical yet stylish hairstyle. Opt for a soft, elegant hairdo, perhaps with gentle curls or a neat bun. Makeup should be classy and understated - think neutral eyeshadows, a touch of mascara, and a natural lip color.
  2. Accessorize Appropriately: Choose accessories that complement the outfit without overpowering it. A simple necklace, tasteful earrings, and perhaps a classic watch or bracelet would do.
  3. Footwear for Comfort and Style: While Ellen’s shoes are stylish, they are also practical. Choose comfortable yet elegant footwear suitable for a Christmas gathering.
  4. Seasonal Touches: To add a Christmas twist, incorporate festive elements like a seasonal brooch, a scarf in holiday colors, or even a tasteful Christmas-themed handbag.

Adapting to Weather

  1. Layering for Warmth: If celebrating in a colder climate, consider layering with a stylish cardigan or an elegant coat that matches the outfit, maintaining Ellen's fashionable look.

Group Costume Ideas Alongside Ellen Griswold

National Vacation

Dressing as Ellen Griswold for Christmas offers exciting opportunities for group costumes, especially if you're attending a party with family or friends. Here are some group costume ideas that complement Ellen’s character.

The Griswold Family

  1. Complete Griswold Family: Team up with others to represent the entire Griswold family. Have someone dress as Clark in his quirky holiday attire, and others as Rusty and Audrey in their unique styles.

Characters from National Lampoon’s Vacation

  1. Iconic Characters from the Movie: Expand beyond the immediate family and include other memorable characters from "National Lampoon's Vacation," such as Cousin Eddie in his eccentric outfit.

Classic Christmas Movie Characters

  1. Ensemble of Christmas Movie Characters: Combine characters from different classic Christmas movies. This could include figures from "Home Alone," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," or "Buddy Elf," creating a fun and diverse Christmas movie theme.

Themed Christmas Party

  1. 1980s Christmas Party Theme: Given the era of "National Lampoon's Vacation," an 80s-themed Christmas party could be an excellent fit. Encourage friends to dress in 80s-style holiday attire, creating a nostalgic and festive atmosphere.

By incorporating these additional tips and considering group costume ideas, your Ellen Griswold Christmas costume will not only capture her classic elegance but also become part of a larger, festive celebration of the holiday season.


Crafting your Ellen Griswold Christmas costume is an exciting way to celebrate the festive season with a touch of classic movie charm. Whether attending a holiday party or a family gathering, this costume is not just about the outfit but also about capturing the essence of Ellen's warm and loving character. Remember, the key to a great costume is in the details - from the clothing choices to the accessories, and the composed yet fun-loving attitude you carry. Embrace the holiday spirit as Ellen Griswold, and enjoy a Christmas filled with style, elegance, and joy.

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