“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”

Many years ago, I worked as an archivist for the Newspaper Association of America. Basically, it’s the national association for all newspaper publishers/owners. One of the great things about working at NAA’s library was the fabulous special collection of original newspapers and other documents that dated back to the 18th century and were once personally owned by publishers like Joseph Pulitzer.

But this time a year, our reference desk was inundated with information about one of the most famous editorial letters ever written–the response to an eight year old girl’s question about whether or not Santa Claus exists. Our special collection had one the last remaining original copies of this letter which ran in the New York’s Sun newspaper, and every year we sent out copies to whoever requested one.

The letter, reprinted below (it’s now in the public domain) was published on September 21, 1897 by veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church and has become the most reprinted newspaper editorial of all time. It has been translated into dozens of languages, has appeared in books, movies, posters and even stamps.

This sweet-yet-profound letter has transformed even the most Scrooge-like hearts and never fails to make me smile. I hope you all enjoy it!


{Letter from Francis Pharcellus Church to Virigina O’Hanlon in New York’s Sun newspaper on September 21, 1897 currently in the public domain.}

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 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.


Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Amazon bestselling Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

Her third book, IN SEARCH OF TRUTH, is about an ex-Green Beret desperate to win back the woman he loves and save the men he betrayed, even if he must make the greatest sacrifice. It’s available at: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million | iBooks|  Google | Kobo | IndieBound | Audible

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki Batman says:

    Thank you for sharing, Sharon. I hadn’t read the letters in a long while, and this time, really touched me. Happy holidays! VB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks so much, Vicki. When I was thinking about what to write about today, I just wanted something filled with hope for the future. And that’s when I remembered this letter. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    Thank you so much for this today. Your timing is impeccable. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks so much, Kathryn! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  3. petespringerauthor says:

    I taught elementary school for thirty-one years, and I had to deal with this question from children many times. Let the spirit of Santa Claus live forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you! I was a librarian for years and no matter where I worked, this was an annual reference questions. It’s still one of my favorite library chores. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! A wonderful #holiday post by @SharonWray on the Word by Word #blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Santa is like rainbows- pure magic ❤
    This is a beautiful holiday post, Sharon. Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you so much, Jacquie! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, Sharon. Love that you chose to share this today. There is so much that’s not visible that we must believe in, and the author makes that clear. One of my favorites. Happy holidays to all our WBW group, authors and readers. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you, Marsha. THere’s a side story that the author was taking a walk after dinner but before going back to work on this letter and he walked by St. Patrick’s Cathedral just as the bells were ringing. As he walked back to his desk, this response came to him and he attributed his inspiration to the bell.s I Have no idea if this is true, but it makes a nice story!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My dad was a newsman and I remember him sharing this with me when I began questioning Santa Claus. The philosophy and sentiment behind the letter has stayed with me ever since,and I make a point of rereading it every year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. markbierman says:

    What a wonderful article of one reporter’s kindness toi a little girl. I can see why it has been passed down through the generations. Thank you for sharing. Have a Merry Christmas, Sharon!

    Liked by 1 person

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