With just 30 days to go until his biggest day of the year, a social scientist has bizarrely claimed Santa Claus is a “lie”.
Kathy McKay from the University of New England has said parents are “damaging” their children by telling them about Father Christmas.
Dr McKay said children could be traumatised when they discover their parents have been misleading them in order to maintain the Christmas spirit.
“Morally, making children believe in myths such as this has to be questioned,” she wrote in a review of the “lie” of Santa published in the Lancet psychiatry journal.
The review, which is co-authored by psychology professor Christopher Boyle, described the “terrifying” North Pole intelligence agency (otherwise known as the elves) that judges children’s behaviour.
The review suggested parents might not be motivated by thoughts of their children but a selfish desire to relive their own childhood.
Dr McKay claimed children were forced to “reconceptualise everything” when parents tell them Mr Claus is a “lie”.
“If all of a sudden you have that ripped out from under you, there is the potential to question ‘if my parents lied about this what else are they lying about?’”
The social scientist is currently working with children on Nauru and claimed they were happy not believing in Santa.
Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said Santa was an important part of Australian culture.
“For many families the excitement of leaving stuff out for Santa, watching through the window at night, they’re just lovely traditions,” Mr Carr-Gregg said.
“It makes Christmas magic and none of [my kids] have ever been traumatised, it is part of growing up.”
The white bearded man with his infamous red coat is not a lie to millions of children around the world, bringing gifts to the homes of well-behaved children every Christmas Eve.