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December 23, 1968


JAMA. 1968;206(13):2891-2892. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150130049015

Christmas is not always a happy time. To many, the problem is simply that Christmas is not their holiday. Jewish families are torn between encouraging some participation in the Christian holiday because such a policy may increase understanding and tolerance, and avoiding the participation because it may serve a more integrative function than they think desirable for their children. And the stereotyped Santa Claus has been white, creating an obvious dilemma for Negro and Oriental families.

Furthermore, parents have had to cope with the theory—a notable proponent of which was Brock Chisholm—that Santa Claus is a lie, and it is bad for parents to lie to their children. The debate continues, but Shlien1 has provided one reply to Chisholm:

I agree that it is not good to deceive children—not good for the children or the deceivers. But "systematic" deception is in a way more honest than the ordinary unsystematic