Serge Vorobyov, 29, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, was filmed dropping $1,000 in singles from the mall's third floor as shoppers gathered bellow.
Vorobyov even timed his money drop with a choir's performance of "Let It Snow" for added effect.
Each bill was stamped with a link to Vorobyov's YouTube account, where he posted a video explaining his stunt.
"I wanted to do some sort of pay it forward kind of thing," he says in the video after explaining that 2013 had been particularly rough on him.
Between his "horrible divorce" and losing his car hauling business, Vorobyov says he used his "last $1,000" in an effort to spread some positivity.
Vorobyov even invited his estranged wife to attend the festivities, but she rejected the offer.
He was picked up by mall security shortly after and ultimately cited for disorderly conduct and released.
"I don’t see how holiday cheer is disorderly conduct," Vorobyov says in his explanation video.
Asked by the AP what he hoped to gain from the stunt, Vorobyov said he just wanted his wife to give him back his cat.