3 Humorous Holiday Movies With Serious Workplace Lessons

The holidays — with all the accompanying fanfare and foodstuffs — are upon us. This time of year, it’s not uncommon to find our favorite TV shows replaced with festive movies, everything from the silly to the sentimental. Some channels even broadcast them on a 24-hour loop

Buried amidst the avalanche of tinsel, laughter and tears, holiday movies can offer lessons financial executives can apply to their leadership and teams all year round. Let’s take a look at a few.

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Nobody does the holidays quite like the Griswolds, who have two lessons to impart. For starters, they illustrate the value of being honest with coworkers — especially when you're in a position that influences salaries or bonuses.

With his annual bonus, Clark Griswold plans to get a pool installed for the family. He’s so confident in the amount of his bonus, he puts a down payment on the pool. But in lieu of a check, his boss presents him with a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. Yikes!

Clearly, 12 pots of jam do not a bonus make. When money is involved, keep employees apprised of corporate changes that might affect their finances. It’s likely they won’t be thrilled, but upfront honesty is better than delayed disappointment.

The Griswolds also provide an excellent example of teamwork. Even while dealing with bickering in-laws, a house cramped with visitors and an electrocuted cat, they stick together. While you may not always agree with colleagues, a team mentality will benefit you and your organization more than a lone wolf attitude. 

2. Home for the Holidays

Poor Claudia Larson. In a single day, she suffers through the flu, gets fired, kisses her boss — and then has to head home to her crazy family for Thanksgiving. While enduring the madness at her childhood home, Claudia steals away for a call with Kitt, her absent daughter. Kitt reminds her to “remember the fish,” a reference to a snorkeling trip the two took together.

But how does that apply to accounting and finance jobs? If you’re caught up in a busy, rough workday, pause and reflect on experiences or people that make you happy. Focusing on positive thoughts can boost your mood and productivity.

3. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

A childhood classic of holiday movies, this animated film reminds us it’s important to appreciate colleagues, even with a simple “thank you” or holiday card. The movie shows Scrooge McDuck “Bah-humbugging” anyone and everything. 

Then on Christmas Eve, with the help of some ghosts, he learns to appreciate and respect the people in his life, including his employee, Bob Cratchit (ably portrayed by Mickey Mouse himself). Keep Scrooge’s epiphany in mind at the office and freely recognize your staff members’ contributions

Have favorite holiday movies brought you workplace enlightenment? Share your insights in the comments section.

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Photo credit: By hashi photo, via Wikimedia Commons