This item first appeared in a New York newspaper over a century ago. Since then it has been reprinted many times, worldwide. We are pleased to continue spreading the story of Santa Claus and the joy he brings to children of all ages. Read it, appreciate it and pass it around.
The quality writing and the ideas expressed by Mr Francis Church enhances the image of journalists everywhere. The spirit of humanity he displayed that day is still alive and well. In 1897, Virginia O’Hanlon penned a letter to the editor of the New York Sun. She was determined to find the answer to an eternal question. This is her letter.
I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in the SUN, then it is so.” Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
This is Mr Church’s reply:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical 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 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 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 can 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 who ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, love, poetry, and romance can push aside that curtain and view the picture of supernatural beauty and glory beyond.
Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else that’s real and abiding.
No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and lives on forever. A thousand years from now Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the hearts of all children everywhere.
Francis P. Church
Learn how to earn an income working from home
Train for a new job at home, and in your own time. The Institute has been giving adults a second opportunity at a new career since 1991, by teaching people the skills to grow personally and become financially self-reliant. Discover your options. Make choices.