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8 Lessons From Christmas Movie Characters

Don’t you just love Christmas movies?

Few things can get us in the Christmas spirit like a good film, whether it’s a cheesy love story, holiday musical or a comedy. There’s just something about this time of year that makes movie watching so fun.

With that in mind, we thought we would take a look at some of the more memorable characters from Christmas movies and ask the question: What can they teach us about money and success?

Oh, you don’t think you can learn anything from Buddy the Elf? Think again!

Buddy the Elf (Elf)

Famous Quote: “Smiling is my favorite.”

We think Buddy was on to something. Debt got you down? Tired of collector calls? Does your 401(k) keep getting smaller? All of these things can get in the way of your joy and Christmas spirit—which, if you watched Elf, you know is what fuels Santa’s sleigh. So no matter what’s going on in your life, remember what Buddy said: “Smiling is my favorite.”

Cousin Eddie (Christmas Vacation)

Famous Quote: “Oh, that there's an RV. Yeah, yeah, I borrowed it off a buddy of mine. He took my house, I took the RV. It's a good-looking vehicle, ain't it?”

Cousin Eddie can teach you a lot. For starters, never trade your house for an RV. And second, while you might spend a lot of time with family this Christmas, at some point they might need a gentle nudge out your front door .

Clarence (It’s a Wonderful Life)

Famous Quote: “Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends.”

Good old Clarence. George Bailey might have been the star of It’s A Wonderful Life, but Clarence was the angel that made George shine. Clarence helped George realize that we have the ability to affect people and make a difference in their lives even when we don’t realize it.

Ralphie (A Christmas Story)

Famous Quote: “I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action, two-hundred-shot, range-model air rifle!”

Ralphie’s obsession with getting a BB gun for Christmas is a great reminder of how much we like stuff, even if it might make us blind in one eye. In 30 years, that BB gun might be a new truck or designer purse.

The Grinch (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

Famous Quote: “Blast this Christmas music. It's joyful and triumphant.”

The Grinch is bitter, angry and cynical. He even hates Christmas music. Gasp! But the lesson the Grinch teaches us is that Christmas is about much more than materialism and shiny gifts we’ll forget about soon enough. It’s about giving, family and friends.

Rudolph (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer)

Famous Quote: “Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” —Santa Claus

If your friends are making fun of you, then you’re on the right track. Just ask Rudolph. Prancer and Dancer might be “normal” when it comes to how noticeable their noses are, but where did that get them? They ended up with a clean view of Rudolph’s hindquarters for hours and hours while Santa delivered presents. Rudolph might have been the “weird” one, the one with the bright, shiny nose, but Santa handpicked him to lead the way on Christmas Eve.

Bob Wallace (White Christmas)

Famous Quote: “May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”

Bob Wallace was played by famous crooner Bing Crosby, and some people believe it’s not really Christmas season until you’ve heard Crosby sing a tune. In the movie, Bob Wallace and his friends have to make some adjustments when they arrive in Vermont for Christmas—only to discover that there’s not even a hint of snow on the ground. Bummer. The lesson? If you’re traveling during Christmas, remember that a little bit of planning can save you a lot of grief.

Mr. Potter  (It’s a Wonderful Life)

Famous Quote: "George, I'm an old man and most people hate me, but I don't like them either so that makes it all even."

Old Mr. Potter. Some people might think he’s more of a villain than the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge combined. The problem Mr. Potter has is that he puts money over people. He might be the richest man in Bedford Falls, but he has no friends, no one to drink a warm cup of eggnog with. Why? Because making a lot of money doesn’t automatically make you a friendly, classy person.

So many great Christmas movies include so many great characters. What are some of your favorite Christmas characters, and what have they taught you?

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.