7 Financial Lessons from Classic Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year when, no matter what channel you flip to, you’re bound to see a Christmas movie.

They’re everywhere.

So we thought one great way to celebrate the season is to take a look at some classic Christmas movies from a financial perspective. Can they teach you anything about how to manage money?

Of course they can.

1. Elf

Buddy the Elf is the best. Why? Because he’s always so positive. In a mission to find his dad, Buddy shares his passion for Santa and the North Pole with a bunch of crusty, curmudgeonish New Yorkers. If you can keep the positive spirit of Buddy the Elf while getting out of debt, you’ll go far in life.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life

We won’t get into the fact that George Bailey runs a “savings and loan” bank. Loans are bad, George! But we do love how the community surrounds George Bailey and his family during their time of need. When you’re struggling with money and trying to get out of debt, you’ll go a lot further with a support system around you. Whether it’s a good friend, your spouse or a mentor, you need someone to talk to during the ups and the downs.

3. Christmas Vacation

We’ve all got those family members who—let’s just be honest—annoy the crap out of us. And, during the Christmas season, they tend to come out of the woodwork. For instance, Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. Even though Clark wasn’t a big fan, he still reached out in his own unique way to his homeless relatives.

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4. Home Alone

Kevin McCallister’s parents accidentally leave him behind while going on trip to Paris. If Home Alone were a financial allegory, little Kevin would be the budget and his parents would be like a large majority of people who are in debt to their eyeballs. Don’t forget the budget! And don’t forget your 8-year-old when you go on vacation!

5. Miracle on 34th Street

When Kris Kringle claims to be the real Santa Claus, not just a department store poser, few people believe him. He’s called delusional, and his boss fires him. In other words, Kris Kringle gets treated like a lot of people when they tell their friends they’re selling their nice car to get out of debt: “What? Are you crazy!”   

6. A Christmas Story

The Red Ryder BB gun. Oh, how much joy dreaming of owning that gun brought Ralphie. You might even say Ralphie obsessed over that little gun. He was just a kid, of course. But even though we’re supposedly “mature” adults, don’t we obsess over stuff as much as Ralphie did over that gun? Yeah, you probably shouldn’t answer that question.

7. A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol was a novel first, but many of us are more familiar with the various film adaptions. Charles Dickens’ story about the bitter Ebenezer Scrooge—a wealthy, greedy man who has a complete change of heart and begins reaching out to the poor—is a classic story of redemption. We can learn a lot from ol’ Ebenezer, especially during the Christmas season.

We could go on and on writing about all the lessons to be learned from great Christmas movies, but we want to give you some space to share too!

What financial lessons have you learned from classic Christmas films?

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