Health Watch — Holiday Havoc: Santa Questions

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.


We’re at the height of the holiday season, a time when we tend to get busy and stressed — and that’s a time when we may face extra challenges. This week on Health Watch, we’ll offer advice on dealing with the holiday havoc. One big question parents face is how to deal with the issue of Santa Claus. Little ones may be asking questions that are difficult to answer.

Dr. Carroll Hughes, a psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says children’s questions about Santa Claus and other holiday symbols offer a good opportunity to teach children about values such as love and generosity. Children as young as four can tell the difference between reality and fictional characters like cartoons, so if you treat Santa Claus as a symbol of the spirit of the season, children will be able to understand that. It’s probably best to think of your answers to possible Santa questions before children ask them.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in mental health.

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December 2008

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