Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories ever. I tried to read it to my niece every Christmas for years ~ and every Christmas it would make me cry. This year, I think I’ll let my niece read it to me. I’ve retyped it as it is shown in Letters to a Nation (PS ~ any history buffs out there would probably love this book).


To this day it remains one of the most famous editorial replies ever featured in a major newspaper. And it all started when a little girl, looking for a direct answer to an age-old question, sent the following letter to the New York Sun.

New York, Sept. 21, 1897

Dear Editor: I am 8 years old.
Some of my 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

The paper’s editor, Francis Pharcellus Church, had three choices: tell Virginia the truth, lie, or simply not print her letter at all. Ultimately, he printed her query and responded with the following:

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 was 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 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 not 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, 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.

9 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

  1. Devonna, thanks for this post. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it.

    I’m catching on my blog hopping and was reading about your hand and feet. I soooo sympathize with you since I have rheumatoid arthritis and have been through that difficult period when you are trying to get correctly diagnosed so you can get the right treatment and feel better. I hope the anti-inflamms are working and that you are feeling better. Not getting sleep is the worst and really kills concentration and coping skills. I’m glad you are finally getting some rest again. Take care.


  2. Rosie ~ I absolutely love this story. I remember there was a made-for-tv movie made about this years ago ~ it had Richard Thomas as the father and Charles Brolin as Francis Church. I sure wish they would show it again.

    The anti-inflamms aren’t kicking in yet, although Doc did say it would take about two weeks. Tomorrow’s the day I’ll find out more.

    Kookie ~ I try. It seems my Christmas spirit gets smaller and smaller every year, but then I read a story like this and it gets reborn.


  3. I don’t remember the movie, but it sounds like it would be really good. I love movies that get me all misty and filled with the holiday spirit, especially since I’m such a Scrooge the rest of the year LOL.

    Here’s to getting good news from the doctor tomorrow Devonna.


  4. Stacy ~ I only ever saw that move once ~ funny how I remember it so well and I think it was made about 15 years ago. It was definitely a good movie, though. Thanks for wishing for good news ~ I’ve got my fingers crossed.


  5. Amanda ~ Nope, no snow. And it doesn’t look like we’ll get any before Christmas. We’ve actually been waiting before we go out to look at Christmas lights because we were hoping for some snow. But, it doesn’t look like we’ll get any ~ very, very minimal chance we’ll have some maybe Friday or Saturday but not enough to stick to the ground.


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