It’s not the price of the gift that matters; it’s the thought that counts. However, the receipt for some movie gifts do help reveal how expensive the thoughts were.
The Duke brothers from Trading Places were motivated to give by a sinister bet, while Scrooge in A Christmas Carol emptied his wallet after persuasion by holiday spirits. Nonetheless, money talks and the conversation is deafening regarding Christmas presents.
‘Die Hard’ (1988) — $1,500
In Die Hard, John McClane visited his estranged wife on Christmas Eve at her job, which lured her away from their marriage. After they embrace, he notices the sparkle on her wrist from her Christmas present given by her coworker Ellis.
The estimated cost for a gold Rolex in 1988 was $1500, and that’s approximately how much Ellis spent on the watch purchased for Holly in Die Hard. The price of Ellis’ token of affection makes it hard to believe there wasn’t something going on between the coworkers. McClane’s wife presents the Rolex to Hans seconds before his literal fall from grace.
‘Home Alone 2’ (1992) — $2,800
The McCallister clan took a trip to south Florida during their holiday break. Kevin McCallister boards the wrong flight and is separated, for the second time, from his family during Christmas in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. While staying in New York, Kevin treats himself to an early holiday gift of room service at the Plaza Hotel courtesy of his father’s credit card.
Peter McCallister’s funds are depleted when he covers the expenses for the Christmas trip from Chicago to Miami. Peter also picks up Kevin’s room service tab for $967.43. According to Entertainment Weekly, the price tag for Kevin’s adventure in New York and the family’s unfortunate trip to Miami cost his father close to $2800.
‘Christmas with the Kranks’ (2004) — $3,000
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as husband and wife in Christmas with the Kranks. The spouses review their expenses from last Christmas, and to save money; they opt out of throwing an expensive Christmas party to treat themselves to a cruise to the Caribbean instead.
The 10-day luxury cruise costs $3,000. In an act of goodwill, Tim Allen’s character awards the cruise tickets to his elderly neighbors.
‘Home Alone’ (1990) — $40K
In Home Alone, Rob McCallister gets homesick following a work transfer to Paris. For the holidays, Rob picks up the expense of transporting fifteen of his family members from Chicago to Paris as a Christmas gift.
Stash estimates Rob McCallister’s American Airline stocking stuffer was approximately $40,000. Kevin couldn’t make his flight and stayed behind to foil the plans of local robbers. Refunds more than likely weren’t available, and Rob McCallister had to settle for ticket vouchers for Kevin’s absence.
‘Ice Harvest’ (2005) — $71K
A mob man’s attorney partners with his ex-wife’s new husband and a strip club owner to embezzle a mobster’s funds as a Christmas present. An ice storm throws a wrench at their getaway plan, and the attorney attempts to evade the mob locally.
John Cusack’s character visits the house of his former wife and her new husband. He borrows her Christmas gift, a 2000 Mercedes-Benz S 500. The average price for a then brand-new S-class Mercedes in 2005 was about $71,000.
‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ (1998) — $90K – $120K
Jonathan Taylor Thomas stars as Jake Wilkinson in I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Still hurt by his father remarrying, Jake avoids visiting home for the holidays. He accepts his father’s invitation for a family gathering after his dad offers him his 1957 Porsche 356 if Jake can make it home by Christmas Eve at 6 pm.
Mr. Wilkinson’s incentive to get his son home is foolproof. The rare collector’s item had a sticker price of about $90,000 – $120,000 in 1998.
Scrooge — $182K – $567K
Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol is a holiday classic that has been adapted into numerous films over the years. Scrooge is a miserable penny-pincher, and his uncaring nature is questioned when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.
Blessed with hindsight after meeting the three Christmas ghosts, Scrooge changes his ways and devotes the rest of his life to philanthropy and caring for others. In most versions of the tale, Scrooge agrees to pay for Tiny Tim’s medical bills. A 2012 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that many physicians believed Tiny Tim suffered from tuberculosis. The CDC reports that treatment for severe cases of the illness can range from $182,186 to $567,708.
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947) — $360K
On Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle is put on trial, and if his lawyer cannot prove he’s the real Santa Claus, he’ll have to spend Christmas Eve and the rest of his life in prison. Santa makes a compelling case after gifting Suzie the house of her dreams for Christmas.
According to Zillow, Suzie’s 5,964 square foot catalog house at Lake Forest, Illinois, is valued at $2.6 million. The price for the home that Santa found was close to $1.8 million in the ’90s and possibly required a down payment of $360,000 to award the estate to Suzie for Christmas.
‘Reindeer Games’ (2000) — $5 Million
Five crooks dressed in Santa Claus costumes rob the Tomahawk Casino on Christmas Eve. Following the robbers’ deaths, a surviving party member takes the earnings and stuffs cash in each of the townspeople’s mailboxes.
Before the robbery, the crooks estimated $5 million in the casino’s day-to-day operations. Ben Affleck’s character performs a Robin Hood-esque maneuver and donates 100% of the take back to the Native American community of the Powahachee Indian Reservation Lands.
‘Trading Places’ (1983) — $250 Million
Randolph and Mortimer Duke select Christmastime as the best time to perform a social experiment that switches the positions of a charlatan and a broker. The broker gets everything taken away from him while the con artist is gifted a home, a car, a generous bank account, and employment at the Dukes’ company for $80,000 a year.
The Duke brothers’ scheme to make a fool of Billy Ray and Lewis cost them $394 million. However, the joke made Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd’s characters instant millionaires. Following their orange juice futures contracts plan, Valentine and Winthrope netted close to $250 million.
KEEP READING: 10 Best Original Holiday Films to Watch This Season (and Where to Stream Them)