By Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media Movie Editor
Sometime last spring, in the middle of a long drive, my 4-year-old daughter hit me with an unexpected question: "Mommy, is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer real?" I tried skirting the issue -- "Well, honey, he lives with Santa at the North Pole" -- to no avail: "But is he REAL?" She wasn't taking anything less than full commitment. I don't like the idea of not telling her the truth, but in the heat of the moment, sweating bullets, I caved: "Yes! Yes, he's real!"
Now, with the holidays on the horizon, I'm hoping to avoid anything that might spark her next round of grilling.
For families who opt in on the full Santa story -- North Pole, elves, magic sleigh, hauling loot down chimneys (or through radiators) -- protecting a child's belief in Christmas magic can be a tricky thing to negotiate. Save yourself a little angst by keeping these books and movies out of your holiday media rotation until you're ready to have The Talk about Jolly Old Saint Nick.
Even movies that wholeheartedly embrace the existence of Santa can get kids thinking (and asking questions) if some characters are doubters.
- A Very Goofy Christmas, age 3+. This short, which is included in the compilation Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, is all about Goofy trying to convince his skeptical son, Max, that Santa is real... without a resolution that's particularly convincing.
Some kids might not be ready to read that Santa Claus isn't real -- or be confused by Santa origin stories that vary from the traditional.
- Little Santa, age 3+. This cute picture book imagines Santa's beginnings as a cheery little boy whose family is sick of the snowy North Pole and decides to move to Florida. It's creative, but it completely abandons the saintly, magical St. Nicholas origin story.
More Ways to Navigate the Holidays from Common Sense Media
Holiday Movie Preview 2014
What to Read Next: Kids' Holiday Books for December
5 Hot Tech Toys for Kids in 2014
About Common Sense Media
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