“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”

Make text smaller Make text larger


  • Santa as envisioned by Thomas Nast.

  • Santa Clausas envisioned by Thomas Nast.

  • Virginia O’Hanlon

  • Francis Pharcellus Church

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a 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, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

The letter:

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

The editorial:

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 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.

Make text smaller Make text larger


Pool Rules


Chris Wipple, author of 'How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,' to appear at Museum Village
MONROE — Chris Whipple, a filmmaker and writer and the author of the New York Times best-seller, "The Gatekeepers: How the White...
Read more »

College Admissions Expert Elizabeth Levine: Financial Aid Picture
Last week's Tuesday Talks With Liz spoke to defining your financial boundaries as the 1st leg to the 3 legged stool. This weeks Tuesday Talks With Liz defines the second leg,...
Read more »

'Join United Monroe at the polls to elect Dwyer, Alley and Houle'
This year, Monroe Village residents have the opportunity to choose a new direction for the way their government is run. That’s because a majority of their Village Board...
Read more »

'We need a new mayor who ... cares about what happens to us and our home, the village'
My name is Bonnie Franson. I am a professional environmental planner who has lived in the older “heart of” the Village of Monroe for close to 20 years and I am...
Read more »


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers


Letters to the Editor
A great candidate: Carey Alley
  • Mar 17, 2018
George Pedersen
  • Mar 15, 2018


Weather in Monroe, NY