What is the Present in Christmas Vacation? (More Than One)

Christmas Vacation is one of the oldest and most popular Christmas movies out there, and there are very few people who can say they’re not obsessed with the movie. It’s a movie with one silly ridiculous action after another, full of hilarious disasters in the name of holiday fun! But many wonder, what’s the present Clark gives his boss in Christmas Vacation?

The present in Christmas Vacation has sparked many inquiries, but consensus seems to settle on a desk organizer. One thing is for sure; Clark’s boss will have more than he needs since it looks like multiples of the same gift on the table in his office.

Whether the movie is well-loved because of the silly comedy, its family moments, or a combination of both, is still not certain. But one thing is certain: most of the 93 percent who celebrate the holiday watch Christmas Vacation every year, some more than once! Me included!

So read on to learn some trivia, big and small, about Christmas Vacation! From the gift Clark gave his boss to what Aunt Bethany brought to dinner, I had a blast researching and re-watching Christmas Vacation!


What is the Boss’s Present in Christmas Vacation?

Christmas Vacation from 1989 has become one of the most popular movies to watch for the holidays.

Christmas Vacation is consistently in the top 10, if not top 5, of polls for favorite Christmas movie. Even after watching it many times over the years, there’s some debate about what Clark gives his boss for Christmas. So what’s the best guess for the present Clark gives his boss, Mr. Shirley, in Christmas Vacation?

Audiences aren’t privy to what Clark gives his boss in Christmas Vacation, but it’s clear from the shape and size that it’s the same gift other employees gave. From the outline, it looks conspicuously like the kind of desk organizer that was popular in 1989.

In the movie, Clark goes to present his gift to Mr. Shirley, who still does not remember his name. Clark finds that some of the other staff had already given their presents to Mr. Shirley, but it looks like all the gifts have the same peculiar shape, and even though the gifts are wrapped, it is not difficult to tell that they all must be copies of each other!

Since all of the gifts are wrapped, it’s possible that it’s not a desk organizer, but from the shape and size, it certainly looks like a desk set or organizer, with a tall spot for pens and pencils and a wider, shorter spot for holding post-it notes, index or business cards, and other little areas for paper clips and such.

This is not exactly like the one in 1989, but this desk organizer from Amazon is similar in style from the kind Clark, and his colleagues, seemingly gave to their boss, Mr. Shirley in Christmas Vacation.

And even though it’s clear that the gifts are all the same, it is possible that some vary in color. Some may be that clear plastic; others could be dark in color, perhaps a black plastic. Then again, it’s possible a few are wooden style.

You might like to read these related articles next:

So what does Clark give Mr. Shirley? A desk organizer!

Yes, it would seem that all of Mr. Shirley’s employees gave him desk organizers. I can’t speak for 1989, but by today’s standards, it seems an odd gift for your boss. After all, aren’t desk organizers provided for each employee by the company?

Wouldn’t Mr. Shirley already have a desk organizer (or two)? Giving him a desk set for Christmas is like giving your boss a stapler or desk lamp!

But, hey, that’s probably part of the awkward ‘silliness’ so common in this beloved Christmas movie that makes us love it so much!

What Did Aunt Bethany Wrap As a Gift in Christmas Vacation?

Aunt Bethany is a memorable character in Christmas Vacation.

Aunt Bethany is a beloved character in Christmas Vacation. She’s Clark’s elderly aunt who clearly has some dementia. Though sweet-natured by all accounts, she’s quite forgetful and a bit uncouth, talking about ‘breaking wind’. She also contributes to the silly gifts in the movie.

Aunt Bethany brings Clark’s family two gifts in Christmas Vacation. One gift leaks green liquid. When Cousin Eddie licks Ellen’s finger (after touching the liquid), he says it’s lime, so it looks like Bethany wrapped Jello. The second gift meows, and they easily figure out she wrapped her cat, too.

Ellen takes the Jello present into the kitchen to unwrap and then later serve with the Christmas dinner while Clark unwraps the other present to let poor Kitty out.

Poor kitty, indeed! After enduring being wrapped in a box and cooped up for who knows how long inside, it’s finally released, but not without serious consequences! Once out of the box, curious cat decides to chew on the Christmas lights cords.

Well, that doesn’t work out! It’s electrocuted, with Cousin Eddie talking about the smell of ‘fried pussycat!’

So sad, I mean, Aunt Bethany may have been a little slow and too old, but she always meant well bringing presents to share with Clark and his family. I’m sure she meant well for the cat, too, although it’s too bad she didn’t realize she was wrong for putting it in wrapping paper.

But on the whole, a cat is not such a bad present!

What’s in the Jello from Aunt Bethany in Christmas Vacation?

Many people try to replicate Aunt Bethany’s infamous green Jello from Christmas Vacation.

Aunt Bethany, in Christmas Vacation, brings two wrapped presents to Clark’s. However, these aren’t gifts she bought; rather they are two gifts from her house that she wrapped. One is her cat. The other is green Jello. But there’s something extra peculiar about Aunt Bethany’s Jello.

Aunt Bethany made green Jello for Christmas dinner in Christmas Vacation but her Jello had something extra in it that’s not typical for a Jello mold. While traditionally Jello molds have fruit, nuts, or even cheese, Aunt Bethany’s lime green Jello had cat food and chips.

It’s not known exactly what kind, but the extra bits in the Jello is dry cat food. The cat food are made into little shapes similar to what you find in candy or cereal. The Jello was garnished with what looks like crushed chips too, the barbeque variety.

So for a fun prank, you can replicate Aunt Bethany’s Jello this holiday for your next party! Just make lime green Jello according to the package but rather than using cat food (it’s a prank, not a punishment!), try using some Lucky Charms or Cheerios cereal. For the garnish, I suggest crushed barbeque corn chips or sprinkle Gold Fish crackers! Yum!

What Did Clark Griswold Receive From His Boss?

Clark does not react well when he receives an unexpected present from his boss on Christmas Vacation.

Clark Griswold was particular about giving his family a perfect Christmas that season, and he wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that, not even unwanted relatives and bad Christmas lights. But one thing was still missing: his Christmas bonus. 

Clark Griswold of Christmas Vacation received an annual Christmas bonus from his boss, Mr. Shirley. Usually this bonus was money. Clark counted on this every year, but in the movie, Mr. Shirley stopped cash bonuses and replaced it with a year’s membership in the jelly of the month club.

Although he always received a yearly bonus from Frank Shirley, his boss, this year, the bonus was yet to come in, and he desperately needed it to replace an advance payment he made on a swimming pool for summer. 

Well, Clark finally gets an envelope from a company messenger, who was meant to deliver it the previous day but failed to do so. An excited Clark opens the package, thinking it’s his yearly bonus, but he was wrong.

It turns out it’s not his yearly bonus at all. Instead, the envelope contains a year’s membership for something called “Jelly of The Month Club.” A disappointed Clark lashes out, expressing his desire to have someone deliver his boss to him so he could insult him to his face.

And the yearly bonus had been canceled, too, but somehow that slipped through despite Mr. Shirley’s ‘scrooge ways’ and converted to the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ according to Cousin Eddie.

After some major shenanigans, Mr. Shirley gives Clark his Christmas bonus plus an additional 20 percent over last year’s amount, which more than covers the down payment on the family swimming pool! What a whopping, wonderful Christmas for the Griswolds, after all!

Wrapping Up The Present In Christmas Vacation

To wrap up, here are the presents in Christmas Vacation, one of the most popular Christmas movies since 1989!

  • The present Clark gives his boss, Mr. Shirley, is most likely a desk organizer.
  • Aunt Bethany’s two presents are her wrapped cat, and then second is a boxed lime-green Jello garnished with cat food.
  • Last, Mr. Shirley gives Clark his bonus of a membership in the ‘Jelly of the month club’.

However, all’s well that ends well when Clark finally gets his cash bonus, plus 20 percent, from Mr. Shirley. This will pay for the swimming pool down payment, the present Clark wanted to give to his family for Christmas!

To read next, I recommend these articles:

Recent Posts