Health Watch -- Holiday Prep: The Santa Story

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been offering tips to help you and your family have a safe and healthy holiday season. One big dilemma parents may face is how to handle questions about Santa Claus. Dr. Carroll Hughes, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says when children ask these questions, it could offer parents a good teaching opportunity.

When children are around 4 to 6, they’re able to tell the difference between real life and fictional creatures like cartoon characters. That means they might be receptive to thinking about Santa Claus as a symbol of such values as kindness and generosity.

Other cultural traditions, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Ramadan, offer similar opportunities to teach children about these values.


December 2006

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