In 1897, a little girl called Virginia, wrote to Francis Church of The New York
Here is a copy of her original letter and the reply from Francis Church.
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa
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 W.95th St.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have all
been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. 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 minds, 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
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And 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! It would be as
dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith,
no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. 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 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 ever sees
Santa Claus, but that is no sign at all that there is no Santa Claus.
The most real things in this world of ours are those that neither
children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing around on the
lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.
Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing more
real and abiding. No Santa Claus? He lives, and he lives forever, thank
God. A thousand years from now, nay ten thousand years from now, he will
continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Francis Pharcellus Church (author of this famous editorial)
September 21, 1897
While newspaper writer Church struggles with the death of his wife, he
receives a "special" assignment. He must answer a little girl's question about
whether Santa Claus really exists.
Based on Virginia O'Hanlon's story.
Watch the complete film now (1hr
"Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"
- December 1991 -
starring Richard Thomas, Edward Asner, and Charles Bronson.