Yes, Virginia…

The topic of Santa Claus has always been one of debate come Christmastime. Every year, many parents wrestle with the question of whether or not to say to their children, “Hey kids! You remember all those wonderful gifts you’ve received on Christmas morning every year since your life began? We told you that ‘Santa Claus brought them for you, but surprise– it was us the whole time! Santa Claus isn’t real. Go finish your dinner.”

In an 1897 editorial written in the New York Sun newspaper, an editor takes on an insightful approach to the letter of 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon, asking him if Santa Claus is real. “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,” said the editor. With this style of writing, the editor simply illustrates topics that many adults spend decades researching.

The editor also inserts clever, humorous lines throughout the third paragraph. ” 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,” said the editor. By this point, the letter itself takes on two tones: fun for children, and nostalgia for adults.

Overall, this letter reminded me that hope in whatever size is important, even if you don’t believe in Santa Claus.