According to director Seth Gordon, the film's subject is the difficulty all people have of reconciling who they are and the person they're supposed to be, which is why it's so hard to spend Christmas with one's family and why it can engender uneasiness. Naturally, he also felt Christmas was an amazing playground for comedy.
Seth Gordon inspired himself from memories of his own family Christmases, where the mood was tense, where his sister would always be after him and where no one would want to go get his grandmother for dinner, to approach the directing on this film.
Star/producer Vince Vaughn, actor/executive producer Peter Billingsley and actor Jon Favreau are all very good friends in real life and have collaborated on several other projects together, in different capacities.
Howard's house was built from scratch in the Shadow Hills area of south California, with a reinforced roof that could stand the weight of the actors and the camera crew. Some of the crew were unaware of this and were surprised when they went into the house to find it completely empty, something which director Seth Gordon is very proud of.
When talking about not being married after the dance lesson, Brad refers to the famous short story "The Most Dangerous Game", written by Richard Connell in 1924. The story deals with a wealthy Cossack who hunts men on his private island, the scenario Brad is referring to.
According to star/producer Vince Vaughn, the film's message is that the point of Christmas is to get together with all the members of one's family, be they good, bad or ugly, to be thankful of their love, and of course to have fun.
One of three screenplays mentioned by Blake Snyder in his book Save the Cat as an example of a good logline. It is the only one of the scripts mentioned that became a completed film. He also says that all three spec scripts sold in the 6-7 figure range.