Yes, Virginia

 
Sweet holiday tale inspires with messages of goodwill.
  • Review Date: December 10, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is set in the late 1800s, so viewers get a glimpse (albeit a sanitized one) of what life in New York City looked like back then. One scene touches on how different cultures view traditional Santa Claus folklore. 

Positive messages

Heartwarming messages about generosity, respect, and an individual’s power to instigate change. A curmudgeonly man changes his Scrooge-like ways when he’s moved by a girl’s search for the true spirit of Christmas. The actions of a man in ragged clothes demonstrate that a person’s true character isn’t always apparent based on what they look like.

Positive role models

A bedraggled sidewalk Santa epitomizes the spirit of giving, literally offering the coat off his back to a stranger in need -- and Virginia repays his generosity with some of her own. Virginia’s actions inspire the idea that one person’s sunny outlook can positively influence those around her and that kindness has a ripple effect on society as a whole.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The special was produced by Macy’s, but the store iisn't mentioned during the story.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Yes, Virginia is a family-friendly holiday tale with excellent messages about generosity, respect, and one person's power to inspire change. Virginia and Scraggly Santa epitomize the meaning of Christmas with their unselfish responses to strangers in need, and Virginia’s idealistic excitement over the holiday is sure to get you in a festive mood. With no iffy content whatsoever, this is a great story for the entire family to enjoy together -- just know that Virginia's belief in Santa is ridiculed; although she's proven right in the end, some kids may start wondering themselves based on others' doubts.

What's the story?

In YES, VIRGINIA, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s (voiced by Beatrice Miller) fervent faith in Santa’s existence is shaken when a playground bully named Charlotte (Julian Franco) tells her that it’s “infantile” to believe in him. Determined to find out the truth, Virginia and her friend Ollie (Kieran Patrick Campbell) enlist the help of everyone from her quirky father (Neil Patrick Harris) to the local sidewalk Santa (Michael Buscemi) -- a.k.a. “Scraggly Santa. But when Virginia can’t find a reliable answer, she turns to the most trustworthy information source she knows: The New York Sun newspaper. At first her plea for a final answer falls on deaf ears, but with a little encouragement from Scraggly Santa, the paper’s grumpy editor (Alfred Molina) takes a fresh look at Virginia’s pressing question.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This delightful CGI special is based on the real-life story that inspired one of the most famous editorials in journalistic history -- “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Set in the late 1800s, the sweet, simple tale is unencumbered by modern holiday trappings like shopping, presents, and hustle and bustle.

Virginia’s fear over Santa’s potential nonexistence isn’t that there won’t be gifts for her on Christmas morning, but that his absence means he won’t inspire the spirit of giving in others. The show’s heartwarming messages about generosity, unselfishness, and respect will inspire viewers of all ages and remind them that small acts of kindness really can change the world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media’s commercial influence. Kids: What shows or movies have you seen that are tied to merchandise? How do advertisers influence your desires for toys and games? Does seeing something on TV make you want it more? Why or why not?

  • Kids: What does Christmas mean to you? What are some of your family's holiday traditions? How does Christmas inspire you to make the world a better place?

  • How can your family help others during the holiday season? How can you help raise funds or supplies for charities that help people in need? Why is it important to help others? 

Movie details

DVD release date:October 26, 2010
Cast:Beatrice Miller, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Neil Patrick Harris
Director:Pete Circuitt
Studio:New Video Group
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:30 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Yes, Virginia was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 year old Written byTizaG1 December 20, 2010
age 2+
 

Good for tweens and older, terrible for toddlers and little kids.

This movie is a terrible film for children to watch. The animation is wonderful, but the content is not at all what the parents of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10-year-olds want their children to watch. The entire film provides only proof that Santa doesn't exist. That is NOT the idea I want to perpetuate. The idea behind the film; that the spirit of Christmas and Santa lives in the good deeds and good will exhibited by all, is a good one. However, it in not a concept that young children can grasp and all they walk away with is a lot of proof that there is no Santa. Even the father hems and haws to try to fashion an answer for little Virginia. This film is better reserved for pre-teens and older.
Kid, 11 years old December 20, 2010
age 3+
 

All family movie

A perfect holiday movie special.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 1 and 5 year old Written bykyliecportland December 8, 2012
age 4+
 

Great show, just be prepared to defend Santa...

My 5-year-old loved it. It's a very short show, with a nice message. Though, you should be aware that there are parts where a big kid is trying to convince the little kids that Santa doesn't exist. My daughter immediately turned to me for confirmation that he does exist... which is uncomfortable. She WANTS to believe in Santa.

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