December 12, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

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 is so.”  Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

Virginia, 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 its 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 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 in 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 child not 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 there are unseen and unseeable in the world.


You may 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, not 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 supernatural beauty and glory beyond.  Is it all real?  Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.


No Santa Claus!  Thank God he lives, and he lives forever.  A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


A Christmas Memory
By Fred A. Lawson

The picture was taken in 1970 in the house where I grew up. That was the year my Mother asked me to buy her a camera for Christmas.

The camera I bought for Mother was a Polaroid and I purchased it at Leonard’s Drug Store.  It cost $70.00, which at the time was the biggest part of my week’s paycheck.   I gave it to her a few weeks before Christmas so she could learn how to use it. I wanted her to be able to click away on Christmas morning.

My Mother loved to decorate the house for Christmas and the fireplace was at the top of the list. As you can see by the photo, she did an outstanding job that year.  When it came to taking a photo of her handy work she was too intimidated by her new gift, so I took the photo.

My Mother always made Christmas special. She decorated and baked and threw herself into the true Spirit of the Season.

Santa Claus lived in that house but I just called her Mom.

It seems that this December has been especially busy for me, so when I saw this card in the store, it reminded me of simpler times. 
Wishing you wonderful Christmas memories and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!