Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

I had been writing a Christmas article for this year when I ran across this timeless article that was written in a New York newspaper called ‘The Sun’ 119 years ago. It was the answer to a question asked by a young girl named Virginia O’Hanlon. The response was printed as an unsigned editorial on September 21, 1897. It is the work of a veteran newsman named Francis Pharcellus Church.
Here is the article in its entirety:

Dear Editor,
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says ‘If you see it in ‘The Sun’ it’s so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon.

Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little in this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, he exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life it’s highest beauty and joy.

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?

Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus, the most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else as real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the hearts of children.

Although this article was written 119 years ago, it still has a meaning today. We should put some trust in the magic of the inexplicable. I know that Santa doesn’t exist in the classic sense, not the fat jolly guy in the red suit, but rather, what he stands for and how he makes us feel during the holidays.

We find ourselves a little more thankful for the people who matter most in our life. The season makes us have more goodwill toward other people, saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to strangers as you pass them on the street or donating money to a good cause that is close to our heart, and being a little more thankful for those we love.

So what harm would it do to believe in Santa Claus, you will have to admit, something special is at work this time of year, I hope you can relax your mind and enjoy the magic of the season.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

Bob Toledo
December 2016