Romer: Business lessons from holiday movies |

Romer: Business lessons from holiday movies

The holiday season is filled with various festivities and celebrations throughout the valley: tree lightings, Kris Kringle workshops, ice skating displays, town council discussions on lighting displays that make you appreciate small-town living (I’m looking at you, Eagle), Christmas cookies, and, of course, visitors from around the world who are excited to be spending time in our communities.

The Christmas holiday season is also filled with the tradition of holiday films. Many of these holiday movies and specials offer lessons that can be broadly applied to the business community in addition to providing hours of family fun.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Clark Griswold’s continual bad luck is worsened by his family guests, but he manages to keep going, knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon. Clark, with unbridled optimism, got caught up in planning on his Christmas bonus in order to surprise his family with a new swimming pool. Clark didn’t count on a membership to the jelly of the month club instead of a bonus check, leading to various challenges (thanks, Cousin Eddie) that could have easily been avoided with simple budget planning.

Business lesson: The importance of budgeting

It’s a Wonderful Life’

George Bailey, overwhelmed by family obligations and a sense of responsibility toward his community, feels tied down to a company he never had an interest in working for, and a life he never wanted to live. As he ages, he sees his youth, dreams and opportunities pass him by. Unknown to George, all of his friends and family have been praying for him to get through those hard times. George’s network saves him as he contemplates ending his life.

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Business lesson: Don’t take your network for granted; don’t quit when facing adversity.


After discovering he is a human, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole decides to travel to New York City to locate his real father. Buddy the Elf experiences the delights of New York City as only an elf can.

Business lesson: Authenticity matters; don’t give up when faced with hardships.

‘Die Hard’

First off, yes, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. New York cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife, Holly, in Los Angeles. While they are at a Christmas party, a group of robbers take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands.

Business lesson: Plan and execute, even when things don’t go according to plan

Home Alone

Kevin McCallister, 8, is accidentally left behind when his family takes off for an overseas vacation over the holiday season. Once he realizes they’ve left him home by himself, Kevin learns to fend for himself.

Business lesson: Believe in yourself and be resourceful

Miracle on 34th Street

A man by the name of Kris Kringle fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.

Business lesson: Have faith in things you may not understand.

Star Wars Christmas Special’

Let’s pretend this never happened.

Business lesson: Not every idea is a good idea

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and season’s greetings to all.

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