Pete's Christmas

Common Sense Media says

Great cast in winning Groundhog Day-type tale.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Family love and unity is stressed throughout the movie, with nods to the importance of spending time together and enjoying each other's company.

Positive role models

Main character Pete is loving and loyal toward his family, even though he's sometimes impatient with their foibles. His family, including a mom and a dad, two brothers, and a grandpa, are close, though they sometimes argue.


Pete has snowball fights, and teens play football without helmets.


The pretty girl next-door is Pete's love interest, and they make friends and flirt.


No cursing, but a few insults: "You dork!"

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pete's Christmas is a gentle movie about a teen who repeats Christmas day until he learns lessons about love and kindness. This movie is squeaky-clean enough for every member of the family, and, since it includes characters ranging in age from grade schoolers to a grandpa, it has someone for viewers of various ages to relate to. Pete and the girl next-door flirt, and he tries to win her attention in respectful, friendly ways, such as learning her favorite Christmas carol on his guitar. Family members are kind and loving toward each other, though Pete and his older teen brother occasionally trade insults ("Dork!"). The only scene that will make parents wince is one in which teen boys play football and crash into each other thunderously; everything else is suitable for whole-family viewing, particularly during winter holiday vacations.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

From Walden Media, the same company that brought you family-friendly entertainment such as Nim's Island and Bridge to Terabithia, PETE'S CHRISTMAS stars Zachary Gordon as Pete, who's 14, the middle kid in-between two brothers, and feels like he's the least special boy in the Kidder family. His older brother, Jake (Wesley Morgan), is a jock; little brother Kenny (Peter DaCunha) is a brain; and Pete just feels like a big nothing. To make things worse, his dad just got laid off from his job, his mom works all the time, the creepy twins up the street keep picking on him, his grumpy grandpa just showed up for Christmas -- and, for some reason, every day that he wakes up is Christmas. Over and over, the holiday repeats itself until Pete learns the real meaning of the holiday.

Is it any good?


The plot device of having a character relive a certain significant day until he learns whatever lessons fate is trying to teach him was a new one when it was used in Groundhog Day. By this point, the idea lacks a certain freshness. Nonetheless, those who haven't seen Groundhog Day (like, for instance, kids and teens), won't realize that this has been done before (and funnier) elsewhere, and will appreciate the cleverness of having Zach slowly learn the guitar or football moves as his day repeats.

Certainly the cast is charming enough, particularly Gordon as Pete. Clever move, Walden, casting a young beloved actor in the main role and a beloved older actor (Bruce Dern) as Grandpa. Otherwise, the characters are mostly forgettable. Still, watching Gordon and Dern bond as grandpa and grandson is the kind of holiday sweetness that's perfect for a family lazing away a few hours between turkey and pumpkin pie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Christmas movies are a popular film subgenre. Do you suppose filmmakers hope families will watch their films year after year, the same way they hang up the same decorations and make the same recipes?

  • Have you seen any other movies Zachary Gordon is in? Do you think the people who made this film hope that kids have seen him in movies such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and will watch this movie because of him?

  • If you had to live a day repeatedly, how would you change it? How would you change today, for instance, if you had the time to live over again?

TV details

Cast:Bailee Madison, Bruce Dern, Zachary Gordon
Network:Hallmark Channel
TV rating:TV-PG

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Teen, 14 years old Written byironkid21 November 16, 2013

charming Zachary Gordon Christmas flick is sincre with great messages

I was really looking forward to Pete's Christmas but I probably would've not known anything about it if it hadn't starred Zachary Gordon or Bailee Madison. Zachary Gordon is one of my favorite actors at the moment whether it's portraying the flawed but likeable (well, in 2 and 3) hero Greg Heffley in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" films or his charismatic, weekly Skylander Giants news show on YouTube "Skylanders Boomcast"! And Bailee Madison is absolutely charming and charismatic whether she's in comedies such as "Just Go With It" or "Parental Guidance" or her role on the new ABC sitcom "Trophy Wife" as the testy Hilary. Despite being a made for TV movie, Pete's Christmas is without a doubt, one of the most charming movies I've seen all year! The plot for this is quite similar to Groundhog Day, in the repeating day element, but Groundhog Day and Pete's Christmas are both different movies. Zachary Gordon does a great job at playing the character Pete! I can see lots of people finding similarities between Greg Heffley and Pete Kidder but the truth is while they do have a bit of similarities, the two characters are mildly different. In the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" films, Greg Heffley did have a bit of crazy things going on, but a lot of them were caused by him and he had to learn to acknowledge them and be honest it was his fault. In "Pete's Christmas", the crazy things happening are barely even his fault. Lets see, he wakes up with pee in his bed, his parents give all his siblings presents instead of him, a Christmas tree that his brother dropped falls on him, and his parents blame him for dropping it, his brothers blame him for the electricity getting shut off, after eating at a resturant, everybody gets food poisoning, and his dad and grandpa keep arguing causing his grandpa to storm off and leave. And then...Pete has to keep experiencing the day...over and over again! But Pete can do lots of things to make this not-so-hot day into something really special for himself, and his family! All of the cast have great moments and chemistry on screen together whether they're between Zachary Gordon and Bailee Madison (who's still as loveable and charming as ever, not phoning it in at all, playing Katie, Pete's new friend), Zachary Gordon and Bruce Dern (who's great as Pete's grandpa), and so on. The film also has great messages about family and while there's things that irritate us, we should try enjoying the little things. As Pete tells his grandpa at the end of the film, "I realized that life's like an empty box, it doesn't matter what you get out of it, what really matter's is what you put into it". Overall, Pete's Christmas is a fun, charming watch that will put you in a jolly, holiday mood!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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