12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog Movie Poster Image
Mostly dog-less tale has religious tone, mature themes.
  • G
  • 2012
  • 88 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Actions have consequences, and helping others will ultimately make you happy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Laura helps others fix the consequences of her wishes.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Talk of adult relationships and cheating, a few kisses, and dogs humping.


"Witch," "crap."


Lots of shopping and references to fake brands, but ultimately the focus is on caring, not consumerism.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Glasses of wine at dinner; references to scotch and having a "martini lunch."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog is fairly wholesome holiday fare with a strong religious message. Although there's talk about adult relationships, and one character cheats on his girlfriend, the only mildly sexy stuff is limited to a couple of kisses. Adults drink wine at dinner and reference alcohol on a few occasions ("Let's get a martini lunch"). There are strong messages about helping others, and characters are shown making mistakes but learning from them. Very young kids might be a bit bored by some of the more adult themes about work and relationships, and non-religious viewers may be put off by the references to God and angels. Animal lovers will probably be disappointed that the dog referenced in the title actually plays a very minor role and doesn't actually get any wishes.

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What's the story?

Laura Lindsay's (Elisa Donovan) life is falling apart: She can't keep her dog in her town house, her boyfriend won't propose, and she gets fired from her job for something she didn't do. On the advice of her friend Faith (Sarah Thompson), she goes to life coach Noel (played by Christian comedian Chonda Pierce), who turns out to be a Christmas angel sent by God. Noel gives Laura 12 Christmas wishes, warning her to be careful what she wishes for. First a skeptic, Laura soon discovers her wishes really are coming true. Armed with her new power, she sets about creating her dream life but soon realizes that good intentions don't always mean good results. With a little helpful advice from Noel, Laura has to untangle the mess she created before Christmas.

Is it any good?

12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog has a lot of Christmas clichés, but it's a warmhearted, feel-good movie that manages to be moderately entertaining, even in its cheesiness. Almost all the characters (even the supposed villains) are likable, and there are solid and positive messages about helping others, even if they aren't always nice to you. Unfortunately, it's just a little too predictable and sugary-sweet to become a Christmas classic. 

Younger kids will no doubt enjoy imagining what they would do with their Christmas wishes, though they may be bored with Laura's choices. And animal lovers will probably be disappointed that the dog referenced in the title actually plays a very minor role and doesn't actually get any wishes. But parents looking for a wholesome holiday film the whole family can enjoy most likely will appreciate this Christmas flick.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the 12 Christmas wishes. Why do you think Laura's wishes didn't work out the way she thought they would?

  • If you had 12 wishes, what would you wish for?

  • What's your favorite Christmas movie? Why is it your favorite?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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