Yes, Virginia

'He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist ... '

  • Follow Editorials

(Editor’s note: The following editorial, among the most famous ever written, appeared in The New York Sun in 1897 and remains appropriate for this holiday season 115 years later. The Augusta Chronicle happily carries on its Christmas tradition of reproducing this editorial.)

Is there a Santa Claus?

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

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?

Virginia O’Hanlon.

115 West Ninety-Fifth Street.

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 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 life 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 supernatural 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.

Comments (3) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1 12/24/12 - 03:19 pm
Bah! Humbug!...

Bah! Humbug!...The letter has subtle clues that an 8 year old didn't write it. She would never have referred to her friends as "little." Then there is the use of the colon. What 8 year old uses a colon? Plus, the line about her daddy saying "if it's in the Sun, it's true" would hardly be something a little girl would appreciate.

Okay, okay, I get it. It's the spirit of the thing and we all really know it's a classic contrived "letter." I say the blessing twice a year and Christmas dinner is one of them. I surprise everyone with my sensitivity. Let's all feast, drink some and pat little kids on the head as they tear open gifts while we perpetuate Santa Claus on this extra long Christmas weekend. I need some aspirin, my head hurts.

Bizkit 12/24/12 - 09:59 am
Dang Riverman it's a story

Dang Riverman it's a story and metaphor but personally I think its time to bag Santa and make it just Christ mas. People usually don't complain about a mythical Santa Claus during Christmas but put up a nativity scene or any mention of Jesus and yoohoo lets rid this myth. I bagged and ate the Easter Bunny last year for the same reason. Tis the season. Rudolf was quite tasty by the way. I forget "The Power of Myth". Silly me. Oh, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope Santa brings you what you want.

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 12/24/12 - 07:59 pm
Of course there's a Santa

Of course there's a Santa Claus. He's sleeping on my sofa right now.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
River Watch construction completion moved back
The project, which extends from River Shoals Parkway to 15th Street, was originally scheduled to be finished by July 31, but the completion date has since been moved to the end of September,