Real Cost of Iconic Holiday Movie Moments
Some of the most touching, funny, and memorable moments from movies and TV shows are set in the holidays. What if you wanted to recreate them in real life?
Just how much would it cost to set up homemade traps like Kevin McCallister in "Home Alone"? Or how much would the price be to light up your house like Clark Griswold does in "Christmas Vacation"? Or throw a "classy" Christmas office party like Michael Scott in "The Office"?
The credit-building company Credit Repair took 13 movie and television holiday moments and broke down the costs line by line. Can you guess how much they would cost in real life?
How Much Would Buddy's Breakfast from 'Elf' Cost?
What it is: Buddy Hobbs has an extreme sweet tooth. But who can blame him? He might be a human, but he was raised by sugar-crazed elves in the North Pole.
After Buddy makes his magical journey from Santa's workshop to New York City and meets his estranged father, he's left all by himself in an apartment. And he needs to eat breakfast. So he cooks up a box of pasta and douses it in chocolate and maple syrup, then adds chocolate Pop-Tarts, mini marshmallows, sprinkles and M&Ms.
Not counting the diabetes caused later in life, how much do you think it costs to make?
Buddy's Breakfast Costs $20
Buddy's breakfast is not only sickly sweet, it's pretty expensive, too, since you'll be using entire bags. Here's how Credit Repair breaks down the cost of Buddy's breakfast:
- One package of spaghetti: $1
- Quality maple syrup: $7
- Chocolate syrup: $3
- One packet of regular M&Ms: $2
- A bag of mini marshmallows: $2
- Rainbow sprinkles: $2
- One box of chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts: $3
Total cost: $20
It's probably easier to get it at the diner, if you can find it (which you probably can't). One restaurant served the disgusting stuff up for $15 a plate back in 2018. Several people on YouTube have recreated the dish, too.
How Much Would Charlie Brown's Pathetic Tiny Tree Cost?
What it is: It's the sapling from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that Charlie Brown picks out from a selection of multicolored, fake Christmas trees because it's the only real one in the lot. Of course, his friends all mock him for it. Still, he has hope.
"I wont let all this commercialization ruin my Christmas," he says. "I'll take this little tree home and decorate it. I'll show them it really will work in our play."
But then he sees Snoopy's award-winning, overly decorated doghouse. He takes a single round red ornament from the doghouse and places it on the tree. It droops to the ground from the weight. Convinced he killed it, he sulks off. But his friends follow from behind and say that maybe Charlie's tree wasn't bad after all.
Charlie Brown's Christmas Sapling Costs $30
This is how Credit Repair breaks down the costs of Charlie Brown's authentic, but tiny, Christmas tree:
- A mini Christmas tree, real or fake: $10
- Collection of mini ornaments and a star: $10
- Blanket for tree base: $10
Total cost: $30
Not bad for a tree that's an icon of anti-commercialism.
Hack a branch off of a pine tree and you can cut costs by a third!
How Much Would It Cost to Recreate Mark's Declaration of Love in 'Love Actually'?
What it is: Before he was breaking open zombie skulls in "The Walking Dead," Andrew Lincoln was breaking hearts as Mark in "Love Actually."
One of the most touching scenes in the film is at the end of Mark and Juliet's story. Mark rings Juliet's (Kiera Knightley) door and puts on some Christmas caroler music to disguise from Juliet's husband that he's there to tell her how he feels.
Using cue cards, Mark silently tells Juliet he loves her.
Mark's Romantic Cue Card Moment Cost About $62
Want to get romantic but not have to pay for an overpriced diamond? Just head to Office Depot (and maybe stop by a thrift store on the way home for that CD player).
- Permanent marker: $1
- Carols CD: $8
- 13 poster board cue cards: $13 (at $1/each)
- CD player: $40
Total cost: $62
How Much Would It Cost to Booby-Trap Your House from the Wet Bandits?
What it is: Stuck all alone for the holidays, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is having a pretty good, if somewhat lonely, time in his big empty house in "Home Alone." But that all changes when Kevin overhears two bumbling thieves — the Wet Bandits — discussing their plot to rob his house.
Kevin races home and rigs his home with ingenious traps that would seriously maim or murder any real-life robber and most assuredly put him in jail if he were an adult. But never mind all that. How much would it cost to keep the Wet Bandits at bay ... or in pain?
Booby-Trapping Your House Like 'Home Alone' Costs $202
While Kevin used materials found around his house, here's how Credit Repair tallies up the real cost for building those robber-busting traps:
- Caulking glue: $3
- Bag of feathers: $3
- Plastic wrap: $5
- Box of nails: $5
- Utility wire: $5
- Rope: $6
- Iron: $10
- Two paint cans: $10 (at $5/each)
- Electric BBQ starter: $10
- Box of ornaments: $20
- Blowtorch: $20
- Box of Micro Machines: $20
- Standing fan: $20
- BB gun: $25
- Bucket of tar: $40
Total cost: $202
The price of bail and lawyers to fight felony charges brought on by booby traps: A whole lot more.
How Much Would It Cost To Shoot Your Eye Out Like in 'A Christmas Story'?
What it is: Throughout "A Christmas Story," Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) only wants one thing: An "official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time." But every adult he tells this to just responds with one depressing message: "You'll shoot your eye out."
But when Christmas day comes, Ralphie's father, the Old Man (Darren McGavin), pulls through and hands Ralphie a hidden present. It's the Red Ryder BB gun!
Ralphie races outside, and the first shot ricochets and hits him in his glasses, breaking them.
It Costs About $230 to Shoot Your Eye Out Like Ralphie
OK, so you don't want to actually do this, but if for some reason you did, here's what the breakdown would look like, according to Credit Repair:
- Same model BB gun as Ralphie: $30
- New prescription frames and lenses: Average about $196 per pair
Total cost: $230
If you really want to get authentic, add $10,000 to that price. That's how much an actual prop gun used in "A Christmas Story" sold for in 2015. It now resides at the Christmas Story House and Museum, which is located in the same house from "A Christmas Story," located in Cleveland, Ohio.
How Much Would It Cost to Recreate Scrooge's Change of Heart?
What it is: Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" has been adapted into many movies and television specials since it first appeared in print 170 years ago. You can take your pick which one you want to imagine for this one.
The scene we're discussing is at the end of the story. After Scrooge is visited by the ghosts and sees just how much of a joyless monster he has been, he buys a big dinner for his impoverished worker, Bob Cratchit, and his family.
He also brings enough toys for six kids so they can have a merry Christmas.
Scrooge's Cratchit Feast Costs About $400
First, you'll need to throw out your humbugs and start humming happy holidays and have a change of heart. That's free, though. Here's how much Credit Repair says it would cost to do throw something similar to Scrooge's Christmas feast for the Cratchits:
- Toys for six children: $200
- Roasted goose Christmas dinner for eight: $200
Total cost: $400
That also doesn't cover the costs needed to pay for good old Bob's healthcare and bumping him up to an actual living wage (if your heart really isn't blackened). That'll cost you a bit more.
How Much Would it Cost to Throw Michael Scott's Classy Christmas Office Party?
What it is: Michael Scott (Steve Carell) has bigger and smoother (in his head) plans when Holly (Amy Ryan) comes back to Scranton just in time for the annual Christmas party.
Thinking Holly is going to be single, Michael dons a red velvet suit and demands that the party be "classy," doing away with the pedestrian plans from the party planning committee and paying out of pocket for a Christmas tree, decorations, food, booze, and a cellist for an entire workday.
It Costs About $1,100 to Throw a Classy Christmas Party Like Michael Scott
Here's the breakdown of Michael's costs to impress Holly, per Credit Repair:
- Christmas lights: $4 per 20 ft. string
- Cello for one workday: $75/hour for eight hours
- Real Christmas tree: $80
- Decorations: $80
- Food and drink: $200
- Santa cigar jacket and hat: $100
Total cost: $1,100
That figure does not cover the cost of ruining Holly's Woody. Although Michael doesn't pay for that, either.
How Much Would It Cost to Decorate the House Like Clark Griswold?
What it is: In "Christmas Vacation," all Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to do is have a great, good old fashioned family Christmas. Of course, everything goes wrong.
One of the film's famous scenes has Clark outfitting the house in a ridiculous amount of lights — 25,000 twinkle lights, to be exact. He can't figure out the wiring, but his wife does.
She flips the switch (the mess of wires led to the garage's light switch), and the house lights up like a tiny exploding star, blinding the neighbors and then causing a city-wide power outage.
You'll Need at Least $1,600 to Create the Griswold's Light Display
According to Credit Repair, here's what it'll take to make the most obnoxious house on the block:
- Christmas tree: $17
- Christmas accessories requiring electricity: $9
- Icicle lights: $686
- String lights: $378
- Tree lights: $529
Total cost: Just over $1,600
That's if you want to do it yourself. If you want to hire someone else to do all the work and add even more decorations, you're looking at a bill 10 times more expensive.
How Much Would It Cost to Impersonate Santa Like the Grinch?
What it is: The Grinch isn't just any Santa you can find at the mall. The classic Dr. Seuss villain creates an elaborate Santa getup, including a sleigh, the most costly piece of the ensemble. But he also slapped a plush antler headband on his dog for a reindeer, so he was clearly cost-conscious.
How much do you think it would cost to create a Santa costume like the Grinch?
You'll Need About $1,600 to Impersonate Jolly Old Saint Nick With a Sleigh
The sleigh is indeed an expensive piece of equipment, but it's essential to the Grinch's plan of ruining Christmas for Whoville. Here's how much dressing up like the Grinch would cost you, per Credit Repair:
- Dog antler or headband: $15
- Santa sack for gifts: $20
- Santa costume: $70
- Sleigh: $1,500
Total cost: $1,605
How Much Would It Take to Skip Christmas Like in 'Christmas With the Kranks'?
What it is: "Christmas With the Kranks" is regularly touted as one of the worst Christmas movies ever made, but we don't blame the Kranks for their initial decision to skip the winter holidays and go on a Caribbean cruise.
But that decision is condemned by their neighbors, who insist the couple stick around and partake in their neighborhood's overly commercialized Christmas frenzy.
The Kranks never did go on that cruise. How much would it cost to hop on one instead?
It Would Take About $3,000
While cruises are one of the worst places to be during the pandemic, they'll probably be popular again when things clear up.
A 10-day cruise in the Caribbean for two people costs around $3,000, according to Credit Repair.
How Much Would the Vacations in 'The Holiday' Cost?
What it is: "The Holiday" is a romantic holiday movie where two women — one in London and one in Los Angeles — swap houses so they can take a vacation and get away from their own romantic struggles.
If you had the luxury and time to afford the tickets, how much would airfare to these two places cost? Remember that Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is a Hollywood producer and can afford a first-class ticket, while Iris (Kate Winslet) is a writer.
It Would Cost a Total of $6,900 Combined for Amanda and Iris' Flights
Airfare prices fluctuate, but this is how much the flights Amanda and Iris would cost in modern times, per Credit Repair:
- Economy round-trip ticket to Los Angeles: $900
- First-class round-trip ticket to London: $6,000
Total cost: $6,900
It helps that the two swapped houses, which significantly cuts down on travel expenses.
How Much Would Susan's Dream House from 'Miracle on 34th Street' Cost?
What it is: In the original "Miracle on 34th Street," Susan (Natalie Wood) shows the real-life Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) a photo of a Cape Cod-style house she wanted. Couldn't Santa just do her this one solid and get this house for her?
The classic film takes place in the state of New York. How much do you think the average price to buy a house in the state costs today?
You'll Need at Least $340,000 to Buy Susan's Dream House
According to Credit Repair, the average price of a home in New York state is $340,000.
Of course, this price can go up or down, depending on location.
And if you want the bigger yellow house from the John Hughes-produced 1994 remake, you'll need to be a millionaire. That 6,000 square-foot home sold for $2.4 million in 2016.
How Much Would It Cost to Gift Someone the '12 Days of Christmas'?
What it is: It's not a specific movie or television moment, but just how much would it cost to gift someone the 12 gifts from the classic "The 12 Days of Christmas" song?
How much did Andy from "The Office" spend on Erin when he secret Santa'd her those 12 gifts in the "Secret Santa" episode?
You'll Need Almost $39,000 to Gift the '12 Days of Christmas'
If Andy's secret Santa bill came out to anything like what Credit Repair estimates the "12 Days of Christmas" gifts cost, he spent way too much money:
- Partridge: $20
- Pear tree: $210
- Two turtle doves: $300 (at $150/each)
- Three French hens: $180 (at $60/each)
- Four calling birds: $600 (at $150/each)
- Five golden rings: $825 (at $165/each)
- Six geese a-laying: $420 (at $70/each)
- Seven swans a-swimming: $13,125 (at $1,875/each)
- Eight maids a-milking: $58 (at $7.50/hour)
- Nine ladies dancing: $7,550 (at $838/each)
- Ten lords a-leaping: $10,000 (at $1,000/each)
- 11 pipers piping: $2,750 (at $250/each)
- 12 drummers drumming: $2,970 (at $248/each)
Total cost: $38,828
That's a lot of money, but not out of the realm of possibility on what Andy would spend on Erin. He's not a good salesman, but he does come from a wealthy family. Maybe he sold some bonds.
While giving the gifts from "The 12 Days of Christmas" sounds like a romantic idea, in practice, those gifts are more like punishments. To quote Erin: "My cat killed a turtle dove, the French hens have started pulling out my hair to make a nest. Please stop."