Summary: December

The director of The Wizard of Oz adds a song for the trees and gives them arm holes, but the play ends up being a disaster. No one knows their lines; from the audience, Manny yells “Bubby!” at Greg; Rodrick appears with a video camera; and when the trees throw apples at Patty Ferrell, they break her glasses, stopping the show. As Christmas approaches, Greg asks for the video game Twisted Wizard, and the family buys a red sweater for a Giving Tree program at church. Greg recalls one Christmas when he asked for a Barbie Dream House to use as a fort and his Uncle Charlie gave him a Barbie doll instead. 

This Christmas morning brings its own disappointments: Greg receives a photo of Uncle Charlie, a L’il Cutie book (a comic Greg hates) from Rodrick, books, and socks. Later, Greg’s dad gives him a bench press, but Greg is no longer interested, and Mom accidentally gives him the red sweater meant for the Giving Tree. Apparently, she bought him Twisted Wizard after all, but the gifts got mixed up since they were wrapped in the same paper. Later that night, Greg gives Rowley the L’il Cutie book and Rowley gives him a child’s Big Wheel. Earlier that day, Rowley got Twisted Wizard, so at least Greg can play it with him. On New Year’s Eve, Greg gets sent to bed early for playing a trick on Manny.

Analysis: December

As Christmas approaches, the themes of masculinity, bullying, and maturity come together in a major realization for Greg. He reflects on a Christmas when he asked for a Barbie Dream House, a request that made his dad uncomfortable because buying a Barbie Dream House for a boy threatened his idea of masculinity. The memory implies that Greg’s father’s perception of the request has influenced Greg’s ideas about masculinity. His dad holds a traditional view of masculinity and believes Barbies are only for girls. To emphasize this belief, Greg’s dad buys him a bench press as a gift. Christmas morning also highlights Greg’s immaturity. Greg focuses on receiving gifts, as illustrated by the lack of thought he puts into the gifts he buys for his family. Instead of buying a gift for Rowley, Greg regifts the unwanted book he received from Rodrick. He also reacts immaturely to his mother’s mistake with the gifts, ignoring his mother’s generous charitable act and focusing on his sorrow over the video game.