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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever

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In Theaters


Home Release Date




Emily Tsiao

Movie Review

According to Greg Heffley, Christmas isn’t about spending time with family or giving to the needy or any of that other “corny stuff.” For Greg, Christmas is all about presents.

Of course, Greg has also realized that the older you get, the lamer your gifts tend to get. (Although personally, I don’t share Greg’s aversion to getting socks for Christmas.)

Greg figures he’s got about one more year of good gift-getting left. So he plans to go out with a bang by asking for the MegaStation 9000, the hottest video game system on the market. But he also knows that the only way he’ll get the console is if he can convince his parents (or perhaps Santa) that he’s nice enough to deserve it.

But being good around the holidays is just so hard. Between the delicious treats to spoil his dinner and oodles of snow begging to be thrown, Greg isn’t sure he’ll make it all the way to Christmas morning.

So when an enormous ball that he and his pal Rowley are rolling for a snowman careens out of control and destroys a snowplow, Greg knows exactly what to do: Hide the evidence, and hope nobody figures it out.

Positive Elements

Greg’s mom spends most of the season trying to get her family into the Christmas spirit. It’s not a quick or easy job. The other Heffleys just don’t seem to be as interested in Christmas as they do in their own pursuits. (Mr. Heffley becomes obsessed with the winter storm that snows them in. Greg’s older brother, Rodrick, tries to sleuth out who destroyed the snowplow so he can earn the reward money. And Greg’s baby brother, Manny, is off in his own little world. And, obviously, Greg is paranoid someone will realize what he did.)

Faced with these obstacles of indifference and distraction, Mrs. Heffley very nearly gives up. However, her efforts are rewarded when her family realizes that this Christmas, while certainly not traditional in some ways, is one they’ll never forget.

Greg learns that family isn’t something he should take for granted. He realizes that not everyone is as blessed as his family is—both in their ability to spend Christmas together and in their ability to give each other gifts. And he discovers that what he really wants for Christmas isn’t some present, but to make memories with his family. In fact, he makes a significant turn from self-absorption to remarkable generosity by the time the credits roll.

Members of Greg’s family, including Rodrick (who would love to see Greg get in trouble) try to help him out of a tough spot. Rowley says kids shouldn’t be good just to get presents but because it’s the right thing to do.

Spiritual Elements

Someone starts singing “Silent Night,” and we hear instrumental versions of a few other Christian Christmas carols as well. A man calls himself the “lord of lights” after he finishes setting up Christmas decorations.

Many characters believe in Santa (and adult characters perpetuate that belief). A teenager says that getting coal in your stocking for behaving badly is a myth. Rowley fears the bad weather was sent by Santa to punish him and Greg. Mrs. Heffley puts out a toy elf, telling her children that he reports directly to Santa. And Rodrick fears the toy might be alive, since it disappears and reappears in random places throughout the film.

There’s a Harry Potter reference.

Sexual Content

Greg says that Santa is “creepy” for watching kids while they sleep. And he wonders if Santa watches them when they’re in the bathroom, saying it should be a “protected zone.” It’s meant to be funny. But comparing Santa—even jokingly—to a sexual predator is definitely something parents will want to ponder ahead of time.

Violent Content

A snowplow driver gets ambushed by kids throwing snowballs (they don’t want her to clear their street since they don’t want to go to school). While she’s distracted, Greg and Rowley lose control of the giant snowball they’re rolling and it careens down a hill, destroying property as it goes, until it crashes into the plow. The driver is OK, but her plow breaks when she tries to get it unstuck.

Greg and Rowley tumble down a hill while running from the snowplow lady, but there are no lasting injuries. The pipes in Greg’s house burst when the power goes out.

Rodrick tells a story about a family that ate each other when they got snowed in for several days. One of Greg’s drawings shows two high schoolers stealing his and Rowley’s clothes before shoving them into a huge snowball and pushing it down a hill.

We hear that most of a woman’s family has passed away.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear a few utterances of, “What the heck?”

Drug and Alcohol Content


Other Negative Elements

Greg spends most of this holiday special hiding the truth about the snowplow. And he bullies his partner-in-crime, Rowley, into lying as well. He eventually comes clean to his parents, but only after Rodrick busts him. And, unfortunately, his parents are a little too understanding, conspiring to hide the evidence of his wrongdoing when police show up at their house.

The Heffleys also begin to suffer from cabin fever. As they begin to run out of supplies, Mr. Heffley becomes paranoid, rationing food and toilet paper in extreme ways. (Manny hoards those supplies in retaliation.)

Rodrick laughs about how he often doesn’t flush (which his parents don’t find amusing), and he warns the family to avoid a bathroom after he uses it. Manny sticks candy canes up his nose, covering them in snot. A drawing shows Greg picking his nose.

Greg is often manipulative, and Rodrick is often mean. Greg also sneaks out of his house without permission. Just before the snowplow disaster, Greg and Rowley accidentally ruin part of the Heffley’s lawn. And they attempt to cover up their mistake instead of telling the truth. A boy ditches his friend when he thinks they’ll be caught doing something wrong.


You know, if Greg had told the truth about the snowplow to begin with, he probably wouldn’t have gotten into trouble. After all, it was an accident. And if he hadn’t tried to hide the evidence, he probably wouldn’t have gotten paranoid that his mom’s elf toy was watching him. And if he had realized that Christmas isn’t about being good for one month just to get some nice gifts …

Well, if he’d realized all of that, then there wouldn’t be much of a story here, would there?

Parents considering this Christmas special for their families should remember that Greg isn’t exactly the best role model. However, Greg isn’t all bad either. He learns from his mistakes, and many of his blunders can be teachable moments for younger viewers.

You’ll also want to make sure that your kids know the real meaning of Christmas. This secular story has some nice messages about how the holidays are a time for family, not presents. But there’s no mention of the greatest gift of all—the reason for the season—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.