News

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

THE REAL VIRGINIA: Virginia Douglas, assistant principal of P.S. 31, poses next to the Christmas tree in her home in New York City on Dec. 21, 1945. When she was eight, the former Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the New York Sun asking, "Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?" Her letter evoked the famous Santa Claus editorial in 1897, which said, "Yes, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist." Photo: Associated Press

When 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon was unsure about whether Santa Claus was for real, her father told her to write a letter to the newspaper.

In 1897, O’Hanlon’s friends began to have their doubts about Santa Claus.

She then turned to her father for advice. He suggested she write a letter to the New York Sun, telling her that if she saw it in the Sun, it would be proof enough of Santa’s existence.

So, she wrote to the newspaper pleading, “Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”

Her letter was handed over to editor Francis Church, who, it seems, was rather reluctant to do anything about it all.

He didn’t exactly have the reputation of being the most gentle man on the staff of the newspaper.

But his response has become a part of Christmas lore.

He told Virginia her friends were wrong, that they had been affected by “skepticism.”

He went on to say, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” He told Virginia that Santa exists “as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist.”

And in his response to little Virginia’s letter, Church concluded, “A thousand years from now, maybe 10 times 10,000 years from now,” Santa “will continue to make glad the hearts of children.”

The letter became the inspiration for “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Latest Stories

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec. 19

dolly

A look back at some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."

in Music

Noel Gallagher embarrassed daughter in front of Harry Styles

Noel Gallagher and Anais Gallagher at Arthur - UK film premiere held at the O2 Arena - Arrivals.
London, England - 19.04.11

Noel Gallagher left his teenage daughter mortified by embarrassing her in front of One Direction heart-throb Harry Styles.

in Music

Donny Osmond predicts end is near for One Direction

Singer Donny Osmond performs in Bryant Park on ABC's "Good Morning America" show on Friday, August 15, 2008, in New York.

Donny Osmond predicts One Direction will split up in 2016 and Harry Styles will launch a successful solo career.

in Music

Taylor Swift and J. Cole rule Billboard charts

"Woman of the Year" honoree Taylor Swift attends the 2014 Billboard Women In Music Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in New York.

Taylor Swift is celebrating her longest reign at the top of the U.S. pop chart after Blank Space racked up a fifth week at number one.