Money Lessons From Your Favorite Christmas Movies

When you’re a money nerd, you see financial lessons everywhere you look. Even something as innocent as a beloved Christmas movie is jammed packed with personal finance pearls.  One minute you’re watching Santa’s elves making toys, and the next thing you know you’re wondering if they collect unemployment in January.

Once you start noticing the hidden financial messages, you can’t stop seeing them.  Grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy these Christmas classics like you’ve never seen them before.




People would rather put up with a mediocre colleague and talk behind their back than fire them.

Most people who lose manufacturing jobs don’t have a backup skill set.

There is no statute of limitations on paternity cases.

Retail jobs don’t pay a living wage.  (Zooey Deschanel has to shower in the employee bathroom)

If your career obsession delays you having kids, you’ll be an old man by the time they’re teenagers.


A Christmas Story

Direct to consumer advertising works.

A middle class family could afford a 3 bedroom house on 1 income in the 1940s.

You may think you’re saving money by making handmade Christmas presents, but no one wants them.

Even tightwads will spend money on nostalgia.

There will always be at least one Christmas present that sends your kid to the ER.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The majority of households don’t have security systems.

Living “off the grid” may save you money, but the isolation eventually drives you insane.

There’s no way the Whos don’t have crippling credit card debt.

Chances are, if you’re so cheap that you sew your own clothes, you will remain single.


It’s a Wonderful Life

Leverage cuts both ways.

“Too big to fail” banks end up getting taxpayer bailouts.

Wealthy people like Mr. Potter make their money buying low when everyone else is selling.

Real estate moguls are conceited and can’t resist naming development projects after themselves.  (Pottersville)

There’s no such thing as a free lunch – Clarence is using George Bailey to get his wings


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Don’t rely on year-end bonuses for your living expenses.

You may think living in a RV to save money is cool, but your family thinks you’re a redneck.

Helping family will always cost you more money than you anticipate.

Don’t tell off your boss unless you’re willing to deal with the consequences.

LED lights could have saved the Griswolds hundreds of dollars in electric bills.

A Christmas Carol

People will continue to work for crappy bosses to keep health benefits.

In 2018, Scrooge would have replaced Bob Cratchit with Quickbooks.

“Enough” is a state of mind.

A donor advised fund may help ease Scrooge into the idea of donating to charity.


Workaholics are blind to their addiction.

Once again, people will continue to work for crappy bosses to keep health benefits.

Be careful who you step on when you’re climbing the corporate ladder.

Employees always prefer cash bonuses over corporate swag.

The Santa Clause

Always read the fine print before agreeing to a contract.

Once you have a kid with someone, you are stuck with them for life.

The North Pole has very lax child labor laws.

People who travel for work struggle with weight gain.

Bad Santa

There’s usually a reason people who work locums don’t have full-time jobs.

Amazon has probably put a lot of mall Santas out of work.

If you have kids, you need to make a will and pick a guardian so they don’t end up getting raised by strangers.

If you work with someone long enough, eventually one of you will want to kill the other.


Charlie Brown Christmas

Most psychiatrists run a cash business and demand the money up front.

If you only pay a consultant 5 cents, you can’t complain about the advice you get.

You can save a lot of money and aggravation by buying an artificial Christmas tree.

Seasonal affective disorder is real and it’s starting at younger and younger ages.

Charlie Brown would have a different attitude if he worked in sales.


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Everyone is a jerk until they need something from you.

Gold investors will eventually regret their decision and diversify into other asset classes (like peppermint mines).

Despite the good hours and decent income, no one understands why anyone would want to be a dentist.

You could save a lot of money shopping at the Island of Misfit Toys.

Be kind to nerds.  They usually end up rich and/or famous.


Roll the Credits

You can find money lessons in the oddest places. You can’t even curl up on the couch to watch a childhood favorite without noticing some personal finance gems.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, I hope your finances have a Hollywood ending.


What do you think?  What money lessons have you learned from your favorite Christmas classics?  Share your thoughts and comments below.

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