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NEW ORLEANS, LA –  A leading psychologist  wants to prove whether Santa Claus really exists by not buying presents for their kids this year!

Dr. Joseph Pernell says we “will never know if Santa is real or a hoax unless we stop delivering toys for him and see if he picks up the slack.

“People think I’m joking but I’m as serious as I can be,” continued the expert.

“As a longtime student of Christmas legend and lore, I have always been fascinated by St. Nicholas.  And though intellectually I’m not convinced, in my heart I know he exists.  I believe in Santa Claus.”

“I know as well as you do that he’s not some elf living at the North Pole. But in my heart of hearts, I still believe that has the power to reward the innocence of childhood and make miracles happen.

“Crazy? Romantic? Maybe I am. But if we don’t try something like this, if we don’t put a stop to this mindless commercialization of Christmas, we’ll never know the truth.

“This is the year we can pull together and celebrate a Christmas like no other. If children find toys under the tree, we’ll know Santa is real.

“If they don’t, we’ll know Santa is the figment of our collective imagination and a symbol of the way we would like things to be.

“I urge every parent to join this crusade,” he added. “We all can play a role in this historic crusade.”

If Dr. Pernell’s Christmas sentiments are fanciful, his search for the truth about Santa Claus is not.

By urging parents to withhold presents from their children, he is setting the stage for unimaginable heartbreak when – and if – the little ones wake up on Christmas morning and find empty stockings.

The potential economic impact is even more frightening, considering the terrible recession America is still going through.

Without Christmas sales, toy manufacturers and retailers would be in dire straits, industry analysts agree.

“The crusade has an upside and a downside, too,” admitted Dr. Pernell, who’s promoting his crusade through interviews and on talk radio.

“Regardless of what happens on Christmas morning, the truth about Santa Claus will pay dividends for years to come.”

Do you think Santa Claus is real?