Most of us use Christmas as a time to forget about our finances and how much we are earning and how we could earn more. Yes, we may have spent the best part of a starter mortgage on food and drink and presents but there’s no taking it back now so it’s time to just enjoy it.
Then someone switches on a Christmas film and before you know it, your mind will be jarred back into the real world. Because the underlying themes of many of these films, apart from love, is money. In fact, more often than not, it’s love vs money. Should Nicolas Cage in The Family Man value riches instead of life as a dad? Is it so vital for Arnie to get his son the most expensive and sought after toy for Christmas in Jingle All The Way?
Of course, it’s not unusual for films to offer up a ‘money isn’t everything’ type moral at any time of year but there is something about Christmas movies that really bring the idea home, when we perhaps need to hear it the most, surrounded by family and friends and a new year and new resolutions on the horizon.
The good news is that the best ones will leave you glowing with renewed determination to make the changes in you and your family’s lives that you all deserve. And once the decorations are packed away in early January, speak to your Serenity Life Planner about ways to implement them within your financial plan.
Here are a few ones to watch (or rewatch) for inspiration…
Main plot: As Santa is finishing his rounds, his youngest son Arthur realises a little girl has been left off the present list and heads up a mission to get the gift to her on time. In the process he proves himself the true successor to his dad, rather than his older brother who, being the first born, would traditionally be the one to take over.
Best lesson to learn: The theme of going against tradition may very well apply to any money you have set aside for specific loved ones. Are you sure you are saving money for them for the right reason? Maybe there is someone else in your family who will need it more and use it better.
Main money moment: When Santa decides Arthur should take over his job and says for him to be the one to deliver the gift. It’s a good reminder to bequeath money to people while you are around to see them enjoy it.
A Christmas Carol/Scrooge
Main plot: No matter which version you watch, you’ll know the tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by three ghosts depicting his past, present and future to get him to change his ways.
Best lesson to learn: The main character is an extreme example but he may help to recognise times when the Scrooge in yourself comes to the fore and you should, say, just treat the family to a night out at a West End show so you can share the experience and the memory, rather than having that bit more in the pot to do up a room in the house that need not cost that much.
Main money moment: The look on the faces of employee Bob Cratchit and his family when Scrooge spends a relatively small amount in his world on a lavish Christmas Day spread for them all.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Main plot: Facing financial ruin, George Bailey wishes he had never been born because he believes everyone else would have been better off without him. Enter Clarence the angel to show him an alternate world if that wish were to be granted.
Best lesson to learn: Instead of striving to earn more for your family, appreciate what you already have and realise that, ultimately, they are probably happy with what they have already got.
Defining money moment: Watch for the parts when George Bailey runs up the stairs and something comes off the banisters. His expression always says it all.