They say history repeats itself. Cramer thinks that may be the case here.
Last year at this time, investors turned their noses up at the prospects of holding bonds issued by the PIIGS – that is Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain - the nations in Europe thought to be at greatest risk of default.
The conventional wisdom was that they were far too risky.
But as it turned out that wasn't the case. The Europeans offered sensible plans. Responsible governments stepped up to increase taxes and cut benefits.
"Last year, when we were saying they could bring the whole world down we should have been buying them. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that came and went because the fears far outran the risks," said Cramer.
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And that was not only the case with European bonds – it was also true of select stocks, such as Santander, that pros sold as a proxy for the European financial crisis.
"I want to give you a concrete example. Not that long ago, at the bottom this summer, Banco Santander traded at $4.80. The company was perceived to be the biggest loser from the coming Spanish default."
However, if you bought the stock at the height of the crisis, "it turned out to be an amazing trade as the stock's now traveled to $7.70," said Cramer.
Of course you can't make money looking backward - you have to look forward.
The Mad Money host sees a parallel. He sees the hysteria in the market surrounding the fiscal cliff as very similar to the hysteria surrounding Europe one year ago.
And just as Santander was sold as a proxy for Europe – he believes KeyBanc is being sold as a proxy for the cliff.
"This major Midwest lender has been pummeled pretty much daily by the fiscal cliff discussion. Just a few short months ago it was at $9 and change on the strength of better than expected earnings. Since the cliff discussion, though, it has been sliding down a little almost every day. It is now under $8."
Cramer thinks at a certain point this stock is going to have its Santander moment.
"It's been a terrible investment, just like Santander was," he added. But things will probably turn. And when that happens, Cramer expects the stock to pop.
In fact Cramer feels so confident he's putting money where his mouth is. "We have been buying it on the way down," Cramer revealed – referring to buying done by his charitable trust.
Cramer doesn't want to look back and say, "what were we thinking? Why didn't we buy?"
After all, History tends to repeat itself.
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