Forget bells and angels. This one is about what happens when you stretch things a bit too thin and start spending money you don't have.
After Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold doesn't get his usual holiday bonus, he goes crazy trying to make sure the season is still "perfect" for his family. When he finally cracks under the stress, he winds up accidentally kidnapping his boss (with more than a little help from his perpetually hard-luck cousin-in-law, Eddie).
What it reveals: The temptation is strong to spend money you don't yet have -- especially when you're trying to please the people you love. But all they really want is for you to be there.
A lot of folks have more limited financial resources this year, says Jill Gianola, CFP, author of "The Young Couple's Guide to Growing Rich Together." So don't feel bad about "ratcheting down the spending," she says. And enjoy the traditions that involve spending time (not money) with loved ones.
Revelation for cynics: There's no such thing as "perfect." Make sure the home insurance is paid up. Always check the Christmas tree for squirrels before you bring it inside. And never, ever, grease a sled.