Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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virginia-letter

My husband and I differ on our opinions of Santa Claus.

He doesn’t want to lie to our child. He want’s to keep the focus on Christmas entirely on Christ.  However, he doesn’t seem to have any problems with the giving or getting of presents, but that is a blog post for another day.

I think that not allowing your child to believe in Santa takes something away from the magic of childhood. It’s not that I feel you need to promote fictional present-givers to inspire good behavior in your children, but I appreciate the symbolism of goodness, hope, and faith in mankind that Santa Claus represents. I don’t want to sensationalize Santa Claus, or even really promote him, but if Ty believes, I won’t be the one to smash his dreams.

 “Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!”

Over the past year I have grown personally by leaps and bounds. I’ve learned that honesty and integrity are not always values that others hold as dearly as I do. I’ve had my heart broken and had the realization that ideas and opinions I once had about someone were based entirely on fiction.I was lead to believe fantastic and unbelievable things, and because I am trusting and honest myself, I believed them. I needed to believe them. There was just so much good there. It restored some of my faith in mankind, and even though I’ve since learned that I may never really learn the full truth, I am thankful that I have had this person in my life and feel that I am a better person because I have known them.

This experience has also taught  that even if a person is lacking in honesty does not mean that they are lacking in good intention. Sometimes, for whatever reason, people play a part and not not always who they say they are.But if the person they pretend to be is a good person with good intentions, then that person has the desire to be a good person themselves.

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, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, cold tear apart.

Because of this, I think we need Santa Claus and those that embody that spirit. Not everyone is who you think they are or even who they portray themselves to be, but just because they aren’t what you may have lead to believe does not mean that they are not a good person.

I want my son to grow up with an image of Santa Claus in his life that represents charity, hope, and joy. All the giving and magic that is Christmas is embodied by the man in the red suite and I don’t want to steal that away from him.

One day, far sooner than I would hope for, the children in school tell my little one that Santa Claus does not exist. He’ll come to me and ask “Mom, is Santa Claus real?” and I’ll have the difficult challenge of explaining that no man hops down our chimney to delivery the presents, but that the spirit of giving and joy of Christmas are alive and well. I will have the challenge of sharing with my son the need for the hope and inspiration that Santa Claus is for so many. I will have the burden of explaining to him why I was not completely honest with him and how he may encounter this on other occasions in his life. I will have the joy of sharing with him how much I love him and how happy I am that he came to me with the question. I will have the broken heart of a mother who’s child is growing up and growing out of their childish thoughts. But I will have a child who had the joy of Santa Claus for a few years of his young life.

I hope that when the time comes that Ty no longer believes in Santa I will be able to address the situation in as beautiful a manner as Francis P. Church of the New York Sun did to Dear Virginia so many years ago:

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 95th Street,
New York City

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 fill 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 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, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, cold 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.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

Virginia letter and Editorial response found at http://www.nysun.com/editorials/yes-virginia/68502/

Image and historical information about the Virginia letter: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/9172

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