|Original Nast drawing of Santa via Wikipedia|
Ihave always been fascinated by the story of Virginia O’Hanlon the eight year old girl who writes a letter to The Sun newspaper, in 1897, to see if Santa Claus is real. I remember hearing the story as a young girl and being fascinated by the ingenuity of this little girl and of course the answer by this wise editor. I mean who wouldn’t BELIEVE in Santa Claus? I hope you enjoy her original letter and the answer by the editor of the Sun.
I am eight 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?
115 W. 95th Street
Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical 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 Virgina’s. There would be no child-like 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.
SIDE NOTE: Macy’s is starting their 4th year of the, A Million Ways to Believe Campaign, of which this story is the premise. Each store has a believe meter and a mailbox for Santa, for every letter you write to Santa, $1.00 is donated to the Make A Wish Foundation. On Friday December 9, 2011 you can watch Yes Virginia, Animated Special with your kids or grand-children, or yourself! Just as I will be doing. Who doesn’t like a good Christmas movie to get you into the Spirit of Christmas.
By the way, Virginia , went on to earn an Bachelor’s, Masters and Doctorate in education and became an educator beginning in 1912 and retiring in 1959.
I hope that you are enjoying the magic and wonder of the holiday season so far! Have a fabulous day!!!