Movies About Money: Why Cousin Eddie Didn’t Have to Kidnap Clark Griswold’s Boss

Upon its release in 1989, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation became an instant holiday classic. Based on a short story by John Hughes, the movie follows the adventures of the Griswold family as they attempt to pull off a traditional family Christmas.

Like most, I love watching this film to see Clark freak out when his holiday bonus doesn’t come through, and I can’t get enough of Cousin Eddie on the curb smoking a stogie in his bathrobe while he empties the toilet. But the underlying reason I go back to this movie year after year is because of the nostalgia it brings. Whether it’s joining the Griswolds on their hunt for the perfect Christmas tree or watching Clark string up 250 strands of lights, it takes me back to my younger years — a time before fake trees and online shopping when my only concern was whether or not Aunt Sue was going to give me the same pair of mittens she gave me every year. It also reminds me that as much of a hassle dealing with family can be, it’s important to slow down and spend time with the ones you love whenever you can.

In Christmas Vacation, Clark is all about family, so much so his enthusiasm gets the best of him more often than not. In his efforts to hide his wife Ellen’s Christmas gift, he gets stuck in the attic and falls through the ceiling onto his son’s bunk bed. He makes the best of the situation by watching family Christmas movies from his childhood on a dusty old projector. When he concocts a plan to install an underground swimming pool so his family can spend time together in the summer, he jumps the gun and puts a down payment on the pool, counting on his holiday bonus to cover it. His plans are thwarted when his boss, Mr. Shirley, forgoes holiday bonuses and enrolls his employees in the Jelly of the Month club instead (the gift that keeps on giving … the whole year!). This mishap prompts Clark’s cousin Eddie to kidnap Mr. Shirley and force him to give Clark the holiday bonus he deserves. Through this sequence of events, a valuable lesson about money can be learned: you don’t have to resort to criminal activity to make an update to your home.

Although the bonus came through for Clark in the end, other options may have been available. He could have applied for a Home Equity Loan, which would’ve allowed him to borrow money against the money he’d already paid on his home. If that wasn’t an option, he could have applied for a Personal Loan, which requires no down payment or collateral at all. Both Home Equity and Personal Loans allow borrowers to take out a specific amount of money that can be paid back in low, monthly payments over time — no kidnapping required! While Home Equity and Personal Loans do charge interest on the money you borrow, the interest rates are low, and there’s no penalty for paying the loan off early. Many borrowers find Home Equity and Personal Loans to be a great solution when they have unexpected expenses, cash shortfalls, need to consolidate debt, have home repairs, or have large purchases to make. Also, both Home Equity and Personal Loans offer interest rates that are generally twice as low as credit card rates.

With the holidays right around the corner, take a cue from Clark Griswold: slow down and spend time with the ones you love. However, if you need quick cash and don’t want to spend the holidays in the clink, avoid kidnapping your boss, and call Connexus.