Is your child scared of Santa?

December 21, 2010 3:02:21 PM PST
Many families wait until the last few days before Christmas to make that thrilling visit to Santa's lap.

Whether you have been or are just now planning to take your little ones, the visit can be --not what you would expect.

Who hasn't seen a toddler screaming at the sign of Santa? Maybe you did it yourself as a child. Psychologist say we need to understand why that perfection and joy some of us associate with the holiday does not always happen on our visit to Santa.

The trauma is satirized in the 1983 movie "a Christmas Story." The film, now a classic, will be airing all weekend.

The satire could be because -- in real life -- Santa can seem a little intimidating when seen through young eyes.

Up close, the white beard can be frightening, so can the unfamiliar bright red suit.

Children can experience anxiety from the visit.

"If you have a child who really does not want to do that, who is more reserved, or is shy or it is just not comfortable for them, I would recommend not forcing it because you do not want that to be a scary memory for them. However, having other ways of making sure that Santa knows what it is that they want for Christmas," said Dr. Margaret Richards from Cleveland Clinic.