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No chimney full of toys? How to handle holiday disappointments

In a recent interview with Dr. Jeffrey I. Dolgan, PhD, Senior Psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we asked how to manage children’s expectations during the holidays. Here’s what Dr. Dolgan had to say about how to deal with holiday let-downs if Santa, Mom or Dad come up short.

What do kids expect at Christmastime or Hanukkah?

Kids are very precise about what they want. Their Santa list doesn’t include just a video game, it’s a particular video game, or a specific action figure. Children expect these precise things, especially if they wrote it down or visited Santa Claus. This is especially true if the ads on TV instruct kids to “tell Mom and Dad” or “whisper this in Santa’s ear.”

What should parents do when a child doesn’t get what he or she wanted?