Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus!

Watch the sky on December 24.

Risk management alert: on the night of Thursday, December 24, be on the lookout for an unregistered flying sleigh powered by reindeer making unsolicited landings on rooftops worldwide.

The driver is an elderly, bearded male with twinkling eyes, merry dimples, cheeks like roses and a nose like a cherry. Oh, and when he laughs his belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.

Santa Claus is coming to town, and all of us at Alta Pro are excited!

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is revisiting the story behind “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”

In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Halloran of Manhattan wrote a letter to the New York City Sun asking if Santa Claus was real. One of the paper’s editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, who had been a battlefield correspondent during the Civil War, answered her with an eloquent editorial that was less about Santa than about faith, hope, and the innocence of childhood.

It went on to become the most reprinted newspaper editorial in the English language. Following is the full text of The Sun’s editorial.

Santa Claus knows the value of maintaining professional liability coverage through Alta Pro Insurance Services. All our insureds are automatically enrolled in the Alta Pro Lawyers RPG, which comes with benefits like the Pro Practice Playbook, Reminger ProLink claims repair, free CLE webinars, Ask the Risk Pro consultations, and more. Here’s how to join.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of THE SUN:

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.

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