Greg Heffley is in big trouble. School property has been damaged, and Greg is the prime suspect. But the crazy thing is, he's innocent. Or at least sort of.
The authorities are closing in, but when a surprise blizzard hits, the Heffley family is trapped indoors. Greg knows that when the snow melts he's going to have to face the music, but could any punishment be worse than being stuck inside with your family for the holidays?
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The story starts before Christmas and Greg wants to behave well since he wants to get really good gifts for the holiday. In addition, his mother brings a doll which she calls "Santa's Scout" that is meant to keep track of how he behaves and make his behavior better. Greg is afraid of this doll because his brother makes fun of him using it.
Greg starts playing a game called "Net Kritterz" that is based on treating a virtual pet and requires paid features. Susan doesn't want to give Greg money for that purpose so he has to earn money on his own. Greg tries some bad ideas for getting money until he finds out that he can buy "Drummies", tasty fried chickens that are sold in his school's holiday bazaar, for less than his school sells so he decides to start his own holiday bazaar and he invites his best friend Rowley to do it with him. They first try to do a cardboard home-made version of Pac-Man, but their plan fails as the cardboard of the game falls apart. They then realize they need to advertise their bazaar and they try to ask the local newspaper to do it. However, they find out that it is really expensive and they establish their own newspaper. Their newspaper doesn't succeed so they decide to hang up posters that advertise their bazaar in their town. They start with hanging up posters at their school but, unfortunately, it starts to rain and all the ink spreads so they remove their posters. All of a sudden the color of the paper itself sticks to the school's wall so they get in trouble. Their school and the police start looking for who done it and they do it at school first. They call some students and tell the whole school to tell them who done it anonymously if someone knows. Rowley keeps a note at the headmaster's desk anonymously saying- "Me and Greg Heffley vandalised the school" (out of Rowley's own naivety and stupidity) so the only one who gets in trouble is Greg. As a punishment, the headmaster makes Greg clean the wall, which takes him two hours. However, Greg doesn't know that the headmaster gave his name to the police and that they are looking for him.
A sudden blizzard hits their town so all his family needs to stay home except for his father who can't return home from work so he stays in a hotel near the highway. The electricity goes off and his family stays extremely cold. Afterwards, Rowley comes and tells Greg that everybody in their street has electricity so Greg checks the power box. Greg realizes that the power is shut down in all of the rooms except for Manny's room. Greg gets to know soon that Manny lives luxuriously in his room surrounded by food, warmth, and toys without notifying his family because, as Manny claims, nobody taught him how to tie his shoes. The electricity comes back to his house and the blizzard stops; however, Susan never disciplined Manny for almost freezing his family. Manny gets off scot-free much to Greg's dismay. Then his father calls to say he comes home with food for the family.
Afterwards, Christmas comes and Greg looks for the gift he asked in the giving tree of his church. Greg looks for it by shoveling the snow near the church off and he somehow gets an article in the local newspaper that tells he helped the residents by shoveling off the snow near the church and the story ends.