Jim MailliardThis time of year, I ask my children what they want for Christmas. Not that I am actually going to Christmas shop. Rather, I ask my kids to send me the exact internet links to things they would like. I just click and order. Granted, it pretty much takes all of the surprise out of Christmas for them. It also takes the risk out of gift buying for Dad, and for that we’re all grateful. Having wasted money in the past trying to be a creative gift-buyer, I have solved that problem and learned a basic, holiday financial lesson – don’t waste money on stuff nobody wants.

Recalling this simple concept, I asked myself, “What else can I learn at the holiday season?” I found an interesting article “Financial Lessons from Classic Holiday Movies” by Esther Trattner of MoneyWise.

Here are a couple lessons from my all-time favorites.

The timeless classic A Christmas Carol contains some important financial themes. The miserable Ebenezer Scrooge is the embodiment of “money can’t buy happiness.” Since the 19th century, a “Scrooge” has been known as a selfish, miserly person. The story ends on a happy note, though.

After being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future — who show Scrooge the suffering wrought by his lack of charity, both to others and to himself — he is transformed into a generous, joyful guy.

Another favorite movie, Elf, is a hilarious contemporary classic. Will Ferrell plays Buddy who, as a small child, accidentally ends up at the North Pole to be raised by Santa’s elves. On reaching adulthood, he sets out on an epic journey in search of his real family. Along the way, Buddy charms even the hardest of hearts with his innocent wisdom and upbeat attitude. The financial moral here? Have a plan, stick to it, remain positive; and you are much more likely to reach your goals.