Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

It’s the beginning of the Ber months and in the Philippines, Ber months (from September to December) is the beginning of the Christmas season. Although it don’t feel like it because of our narcissistic politicians and this so-called investigation on extra-judicial killings under the pretense of “fighting for justice and human rights.” Only God knows what are their real intentions.

It is always nice to be reminded of the good things from the past to guide us people living in the present. Like this letter from Virginia and the New York Sun’s surprising reply.  It was heartwarming that an editor gave his time to answer a letter written by an eight-year-old girl. This is said to be “the most reprinted editorial in any English-language newspaper” in history. I first read this many years ago, reprinted in Philippine Daily Inquirer, the time when there was no Facebook, no Internet. A nice read, particularly in these times of hate and turbulence.


(Originally published in the New York Sun, September 21, 1897)

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

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
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 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 external 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 in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you 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 there 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, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, 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 real and abiding.

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

~Francis Pharcellus Church, who was a war correspondent, is the author of this famous editorial.


Francis Pharcellus Church


Virginia O’Hanlon, circa 1895.  She lived until 1971 and died at age 81.


Original letter by Virginia but is suspected to have been written by her father on her behalf


Original article in the New York Sun

Note:  Thanks Wikipedia and New York Sun and Google.


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