Julianna Margulies: My Son Is Scared of Santa

12/24/2011 at 02:00 PM ET
Eugene Gologursky/WireImage

Julianna Margulies says her son Kieran Lindsay, 3½, has something in common with nearly every other starry-eyed toddler during the holiday season: a fear of Santa.

And that’s exactly why he hasn’t visited the jolly man in red this year — yet.

“I tried last year at our Christmas party and he wouldn’t get on Santa’s lap and hid behind me,” The Good Wife star, 45, told PEOPLE at the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards on Dec. 15 in New York City.

“This year I actually asked our production, ‘Could you have Santa in the light?,’ because they always had him in a dark corner and that scared my kid. But I think most kids are afraid of Santa, until they get to 6 or 7.”

Margulies says what Kieran is not afraid to do — during the holidays or any time of year — is give back to others. The actress makes sure her son understands the importance of helping people not quite as fortunate as him, and makes the act of giving a mother-son bonding experience.

“Whenever he grows out of his clothes we bring them to Room to Grow, which is a foundation for underprivileged children in the city. It’s a phenomenal organization,” she shares.

“I always show him what we’re going to bring — he grows out of everything so fast. We walk there together and he wants to see where it’s going and he chooses books to give the children.”

Why is Margulies so committed to teaching her son the importance of giving back? “He’s living in a world I didn’t grow up in — this sort of world of privilege in a way, because of what I do for a living,” she explains.

“I want to make sure he understands that’s not normal and I want him to remain grounded. For his birthdays we always say ‘in lieu of gifts please give to this charity’ because he doesn’t need anything. And I want him to always know that giving is always a much bigger reward than getting.”

— Kathy Ehrich Dowd

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Showing 31 comments

JMO on

I actually think the best Christmas photos are those of the kids screaming on Santa’s lap. A bit torturous yes but so worth it to have that memory forever to show them!

jeanette on

thank heaven for a celebrity with a brain and her priorities in order!! i love her and admire the way she is raising her son. it appears that she has never forgotten where she came from…kudos to her!

Shawna on

Kids are smarter than their parents obviously if they are afraid of Santa. You are asking your kid to sit on some stranger’s lap after spending the previous year telling them to stay away from strangers. And to the person who just said screaming photos are hilarious? That is seriously disgusting.

manda on

speak for yourself old lady

Holiday on

My son is 6 and has always loved Santa, even as a tiny child. My daughter is 19 months and will not go anywhere near him .

Socrates on


Shelley on

Hats off to this woman!! Here we are in this society of ours with celebrities who give, give and give more to their children and that is all the children know! If parents don’t teach their children who are very much priveleged to have the things in this world that other children would love to have, then we would not have such spoiled little children running around thinking that they can have everything they want on a silver platter! I am quite thrilled that Julianna shows her child that you can’t have everything you want and you have to learn to give also! Good for her!

Julianna on

When I was a child, my father’s side of the family had this tradition of one of the males dressing as Santa to give away gifts to the children.

I was born when my parents lived away from our family, in another state, and only moved back into my dad’s hometown when I was three, so before that we had never spent Christmas with the family, and dad thought it would be nice to dress as Santa in that year.

Well, apparently it was nice… only, not for me. Apparently I freaked out when Dad picked me up in his lap and started crying, never recognizing him underneath the beard and hat.

Julianna’s story about her son doing the same thing reminded me of that tidbit of my childhood. I love her since ER, she’s just so awesome, and her son is adorable. I love the name.

Sarah K. on

Shelley, unfortunately it’s not just celebrities who go way overboard on spoiling their children, especially at Christmas. Why people go broke over one holiday I will never know, especially since that’s not even what Christmas is about. Glad to see Julianna has it right!

kasia on

as far as i remember myself, i was allways scared of ‘santa’ too, because i never ever believed it and also was teached to avoid stranges.

Anonymous on

I think its great that she is teaching her son to give back in the community. We do this with my daughter; for every new toy / outfit we give one away. By letting her choose what is sent to Goodwill; she feels like its her choose and happily picks them out. She will now go in her room; without being prompted; and select what we will donate. So Proud.

ruru on

She is jewish .. no Santa

jenn on

My child won’t go near Santa, let alone any Disney character and she is 5 yrs old. We went to Disney 2 days before Christmas and she hid under the table when Winnie the Pooh and friends came near our table and wouldn’t come out until they left. so her child isn’t alone.

Malcolm on

Every Jew should be afraid of Santa Claus and his Christmas good tidings. Why doesn’t Margulies teach the kid about Channukah so he can embrace his real religion.

NeeNee on

A LOT of kids are scared of Santa…why was this even a story? Dang, must be scrounging really deep for anything to write about! So another kid screams it’s head off at a stranger, get a clue, maybe they are just scared of weird looking strangers in general as well they SHOULD be!

Mary on

My daughter is 10 and is still taking pictures with Santa. The only year she refused to sit on his lap was when she was 18 months. Other than that, my fridge is lined up with pictures with Santa from the age of 6 months to 10. Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Red on

My son is 2 & 1/2 and enjoys the Santa tradition. No need to harbor a child’s fears, as it only intensifies as the child gets older. Nip it in the bud now…

ann on

ummm — she’s is a Jew — where is Hanukah?

springbeanqueen on

@Red – I don’t think that the kid is going to be scared of Santa when he’s 20. A fear of Santa isn’t really something to worry too much about.

Jesse on

My kids and grandson have never been scared of Santa, but I think it’s horrible when people force their screaming child to sit on this “man’s” lap and try to get them to smile for a picture. I see it year after year and it makes me sick. I mean you teach them about “Stranger Danger” but then want them to be all cuddly with this strange man? If my kids didn’t like it I wouldn’t have done it with them, same with my grandson. Oh, and that goes for the Easter Bunny too.

daphne on

.. what a refreshing thing to read about off-screen Julianna Margulies! I believe I heard her say in an interview that she appreciates her husband’s parents for bringing up such a ‘wonderful man’: it sounds as if she means to do the same.

Trish on

Shawna, they aren’t funny at the time…but years later, when your child is older, and is sane and happy and all grown up…it could be funny. If you can’t laugh at stuff like that, I don’t see you having much of a sense of humour. I don’t care for the santa thing…never did…but I have seen parents looking desperate pulling their kids off the old guy and it can be funny.

In most cases, the child is afraid of the costume….it isn’t some sixth sense of pedophilia…although, I am not saying their aren’t any disgusting and twisted santas out there. In fact, the problem is kids trust everyone…they are innocent and they DON’T have an understanding.

Anyway, as far as laughing at those pics…I guess I’m disgusting too.


Susan on

The first time I sat on Santa’s lap, I was four, and I burst into tears. He was this big, red thing, and he scared me to death. My family still has a picture of this scared-looking kid on his lap. Funny, though…I seem to have over it quickly! Two years later, I wanted to see him so much, I tried to stay up late. My dad said Santa wouldn’t come to our house if I did…so I went to bed. I could be bought, that’s for sure! And now…my favorite color is red. Go figure.

Nikki on

Wait till he sees the wizard of oz for the first time. Then that fear of Santa will be fear of flying monkeys

Denise504 on

And how is this NEWSWORTHY ? Sad that the media has to report every time one of these so called DO GOOD FOR NOTHING PEOPLE have and idea that just POP UP in their EMPTY HEAD, Would this have made the news IF and UNLESS FORTUNATE FINANCIAL baby was scared of Santa ? NO.

Sarah K. on

Denise504 and NeeNee, this is not CNN. This is a celebrity baby blog…so what exactly were you expecting? Have you seen the other articles on this site? NONE of them are “newsworthy.” I love how people come here, read the articles, and then comment that it’s not newsworthy. Well, that’s good since it wasn’t even a real news piece. If you wanted real news, why did you come to People Magazine’s Moms & Babies section?

Caroline on

This is one of the many reasons why I love and admire Julianna. She is truly a remarkable woman.

Caroline on

I think it’s wonderful how she is teaching her child to give back to the community in every way possible. I myself donate things that I don’t need or use anymore. It makes me feel good knowing that there are people out there that are in need of clothes, toys and even food. I have been a fan of hers since her days on ER and I love and admire her. She is truly a remarkable woman and seems very down to earth.

Caroline on

Disregard my first post but I do need to make a correction on my second post. I meant to say that it makes me feel good (donating items) knowing that I can help others who are in need of clothes, toys and even food.

Sage49 on

It seems some folks are getting their panties in a twist because Julianna, a Jew, took her son to see Santa. If the woman wants to teach her son a little interfaith unity, that’s her business.

Hannah on

Interfaith unity? Santa is the most secular part of the holiday. A Jew observing Santa makes a mockery of interfaith unity. Interfaith unity should at least include something spiritual.