“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


Students, supporters to 'march for their lives' this Saturday
Students, families and supporters will take to the streets of Washington, DC, as well as communities across the country, on Saturday, March 24, as part of...

Read more »

Orange County offers many farm-to-table gems
— Orange County’s rich agricultural history has led to locally sourced dining options that are unparalleled. Local farmers,...
Read more »

Big Joe Fitz & The Lo-Fi's to perform for Safe Harbors
— Singer, harmonica man, and band leader Big Joe Fitz is a leading personality on the Hudson Valley music scene, synonymous with...
Read more »

Jackson Diglio named semifinalist in National Geographic State Bee
— Jackson Diglio, an eighth grade student at C.J. Hooker Middle School, was named a semifinalist for the New York National...
Read more »


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers


Local News
Greens of Chester raises many questions
  • Mar 21, 2018
Home and Garden 2018
  • Mar 22, 2018
Local News
One Lucky Leprechaun
  • Mar 21, 2018
Local News
Concert to raise money for Disney trip
  • Mar 21, 2018


Find more about Weather in Chester, NY