Is the finance advice in your favourite Christmas songs naughty or nice?

santa jamming out to christmas songs

Love it or hate it, we’ve well and truly entered Christmas music season. Michael Bublé has defrosted for the festive season and Mariah Carey is draped in tinsel, ready to take her position atop the tree. But when it comes to Christmas songs, is the financial advice we can glean from them any good?

We don’t ordinarily recommend turning to your music for savings strategies or step-by-step guides on how to create a budget. In fact, this time of year tends to be associated with exorbitant spending and social extravagance. Though you might intend on keeping costs down for Christmas, this can be hard to do with the cost of living continuing to rise. Perhaps some of our tunes can teach us a little something in time for the festive season!

From the practical to the definitely not-so straightforward, let’s see what we can learn - and what advice we should definitely not take - from some of these Christmas favourites.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

You might not associate Mariah Carey with a no frills lifestyle, but we can learn a lot about frugality from her slim Christmas wishlist. Mariah seriously got the message about Christmas being a time for togetherness, and she’s not even writing a list. In fact, Mariah’s Christmas plans are going to be super helpful to all of her friends and family in their festive budgeting. What a relief to know that the only gift she’s after is the presence of a loved one! 

If she is looking to make this gift a reality, she might want to speak to her partner about options for financing travel (like holiday loans) or starting a dedicated travel savings fund. Realistically, the money made from this single alone will keep Mariah’s travel whims covered for the foreseeable future - but the rest of us might want to study up!

Rating: Nice!

12 Days of Christmas

You know when you love someone so much that you buy them a bird (in a tree)? And then the next day, you give them that same bird again, plus two more birds? Then it’s day three, so you go for three hens and you repeat those three birds you bought the day before? 

I’m no couples counsellor, but I’ll be the first to tell you that an exponentially growing amount of birds is probably not going to wow your lover - nor is it going to be kind to your wallet. 

Grand gestures, like 12 days of gift-giving for Christmas, could be a little bit over-the-top. It’s absolutely okay to want to give someone something special every once in a while, but consider the person you’re gifting to and what you can afford. They most likely would prefer a less extravagant gift, allowing you to stay more financially comfortable. 

If you need some gift suggestions that aren’t birds, we do have some Christmas gift guides for you to check out.

Rating: Naughty, and way too into birds.

Santa Baby

There’s nothing wrong with being a little over-the-top on your wishlist if it’s a little bit of idle daydreaming. In Santa Baby, however, there’s a little more than that going on. 

This song is a terrible example of financial planning, with all of the singer’s grand plans (for the duplex and yacht and ‘54 convertible) all relying on Santa signing one of those oh-so-elusive cheques.

In fact, if she does want a sports car, she might consider starting a savings plan or taking out a car loan (or a boat loan for that yacht!). Her duplex will most likely involve searching around for the home loan that best suits her needs. It’s going to take a lot more than flirting with Santa to procure these major purchases.

Rating: Naughty.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

You might not associate this cheery little number with savings tips, but Rudolph’s tale could teach us a lot about making a little extra cash. 

While Rudolph spends most of the song getting teased for his glowing red nose, he eventually is able to harness his unique abilities into a singular position. While we can’t be sure whether Rudolph and his cohort are earning money for their sleigh-leading duties, there is definitely something to be learnt about finding what you’re good at and utilising that in order to make some extra cash.

If you can specialise in a particular area (whether or not your nose is luminous), you could be set to bump up your earnings. Something that you do for fun on the regular - cooking, crafts, etc - could easily function as a “side hustle” if it’s something you have the time and room for.

Rating: Nice!

Last Christmas

A lot of the problems in Christmas songs stem from people not knowing their gift-giving limits. In Last Christmas, Wham! go for the ultimate in misguided gifts: last Christmas, they gave one lucky recipient their heart.

The heart is a super valuable organ, pumping blood through to the rest of your body. We certainly wouldn’t recommend giving it away to anyone, particularly not someone you don’t know very well. The modern equivalent of a heart, you might want to consider some tech gifts instead. After all, this same heart ends up getting swiftly regifted the very next day - no one is doing that with an iPad.

Regifting may be a faux-pas, but if we’re to learn anything from this song worthy of keeping costs down at Christmas, it could be the savings potential of a cheeky regift, and the importance of making sure you’re really invested in a relationship before you opt for the major, high value presents or joint investments.

Rating: Naughty, and heartbroken.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

No one wants to think about mortality around Christmas, but we didn’t write the songs! 

Grandma will probably struggle with a comprehensive life insurance policy, depending on her age at the time of coverage, but if you’re worried about what will happen to your family in the event of a stray reindeer run-down? It could be a smart thing to look into. Maybe go a little easier on the eggnog than Grandma did, just to be safe.

Meanwhile, Santa better hope he’s sorted out his sleigh insurance (which we imagine runs a little more expensive than car insurance). We aren’t worried about errant grandparents as much as we are about snowy rooftops and aircraft collisions.

Rating: Undetermined.

Christmas songs might put a smile on your face, or they might make you want to run for cover, but hopefully you’ve found some interesting advice in some unlikely places.

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