“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”
As most of you know that line (“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”) was written in 1897 in answer to 8 year-old Virginia O’Hanlon‘s inquiry. It was printed in the New York “Sun” and is history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.
I wasn’t named Virginia as a result of that famous letter but I can remember my father reading it to me every Christmas during my childhood. He had a deep, melodic voice and he really hammed it up as he read.
The second paragraph is the one that is repeated most often but I love the opening too. Here is a synopsis:
“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. …
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! … 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.”
Editorial page, THE New York SUN, Sept. 21, 1897
Written by: Francis P. Church