By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sweet holiday tale inspires with messages of goodwill.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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.
Products & Purchases
The special was produced by Macy’s, but the store iisn't mentioned during the story.
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.
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Where to Watch
Based on 6 parent reviews
A sweet Christmas movie - Be ready for lots of Santa questioning
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Not as good artistically as the original, but still good.
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate