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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

December 25, 2004

From the editorial page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P.

Church, Sept. 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

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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 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, 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 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.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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