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Christmas Spending Personality #3

Just as there are as many “characters” in our families as there are members of them, there are various spending personalities that surface during the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, most of them tend to involve impulse spending, overspending, entitlement spending (think, “I deserve a dinner out after shopping all day”), sales spenders (never met a sale they didn’t like), and/or justified spender (think, “this is for a good cause so I’m going all out”).

Let’s see if you recognize yourself in the Christmas Spending Personalities that I’m profiling this Christmas season.

Here’s Christmas Spending Personality #3:

Clark Griswold Christmas Spending PersonalityClark Griswold

The protagonist in National Lampoon’s 1989 Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold attempts to engineer the perfect Christmas holiday, from placing tens of thousands of lights on his house to bringing home a ridiculously large Christmas tree, and from gathering far too many “characters” together at one dinner table to placing his hopes on a Christmas bonus in order to give the family the gift of a backyard pool. In the end (after his break down, of course), Clark realizes that the meaning of Christmas is not found in the gifts or the lights or the tree or even the food, but in his family.

You might be Clark Griswold the Christmas Spender if…you have a tendency to go more than a bit overboard with your Christmas plans (decorations, feasts, gifts, etc). You’re the consummate Christmas perfectionist. You purchase new Christmas lights every year, you love whatever the latest ornament trends are, and you have big plans for a big family Christmas gift.

Christmas Tip: Keep planning for perfection, but accept that you will have to improvise. Keep the ultimate goal in mind, remembering that decorations, music, food, etc. are the means to the end, not the end itself. As for your spending, budget for your decorations, ideally buying them the day after Christmas at a steep discount.

Have a healthy and happy Christmas season! Happy Holidays to all as we strive to make it magical without breaking the bank.

Todd Christensen-Author of Everyday Money for Everyday People, Todd ChristensenTodd Christensen
Everyday Money for Everyday People


  1. Todd Christensen

    Thanks, Variny! It’s always tempting to be a Clark Griswold at Christmas when we have neighbor’s with beautiful decorations and hundreds of perfectly placed lights. The danger, of course, is to think that the perfect decorations and details equate to the perfect Christmas. That just leads to overspending and to unrealistic expectations that are bound to be unfulfilled.

  2. Variny Yim

    This is a great and creative analogy right in time for the holidays! Thanks, Todd!

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