Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Musings from Under the Steps: My Gift to You.

"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 so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"



8 year old Virginia wrote this letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial ever.

And although the earnest words of that child touches me, it is the response that warms me each time I read it. My gift to all of you this hectic holiday season. A bit of perspective--a moment to see how we should see this time of year and every day that follows it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you.


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 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 no 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.


  1. Thanks, Nicole. I have never before read the entire editorial. Reading it sent empathic tremors in my own spirit, for those sentiments are the wind in my own sails.

    I pray each day to keep the child-like sense of wonder and surprise towards life. Have a beautiful Sunday, Roland

  2. I've seen the original movie but I've never read the editorial, either.

    Thanks for posting this!

    I hope your weekend is relaxing :)

  3. Awwww how lovely!! I believe in Santa Clause a million times oveer!! Thank you for reprinting this amazing amazing editorial here! Take care

  4. Thanks, Nicole. I love that story. =o)

  5. I've never read this before ... I was so touched by it. Imagine that editor .. being so busy and important really thinking about the hopes and dreams (and questions) of an 8 year old girl. FANTASTIC!! Thank goodness for Santa Claus, Fairies and Virginias!! :)

  6. Thank you for sharing!!!




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