Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. Thank God!
Does Santa Still Live?
My children have grown. They are no longer wide-eyed innocent babes. Now, as adults, they know, but still, they sometimes wonder, “Is Santa Claus real?”
I always say yes. Even to my twenty-something children. Yes, he is real. As real as anything you can imagine. I told them, back when they were still young, that we get his phone number when we have children, so that we may call Santa anytime. They don't believe that part anymore.
But they still wonder. And so do I. They wonder about the possibility of magic. They wonder at the possibility of miracles. They wonder at the possibility of manifesting the impossible. I tell them, yes, it is true.
Miracles and magic happen every day in our lives if we open our eyes and look for them. Most of the time, we live with our eyes closed. Not literally, of course, but our spiritual eyes are closed to the wonder of the world around us.
Looking around me, I see the existence of Santa everywhere. It is in the smiles of the usually grumpy Walmart workers. It is in my children, shoveling snow for our elderly neighbor. It is in the lawyer up the street, using his snow blower, clearing snow for blocks.
This time of year, the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of Santa, the presence of Love exists all around. You only need to look beyond the end of your nose to see kindness. And when we see kindness, a strange thing happens. We become kind ourselves.
Tenzin Gytaso said, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Not only during the holiday season but all year round, it is possible to have compassion for those we encounter. Everyone struggles in this life, and it brings great joy to show compassion for the suffering of others.
The spirit of Christmas lives on, as we practice kindness to ourselves and each other. It is important to always be kind to yourself. No one will be kinder to you than you are to yourself. And to keep Santa alive, we only need to keep being kind, sharing love, and offering forgiveness.
The Original Article
The original article was first published in the New York Sun. This letter has been oft repeated, but the message bears telling again and again. There is a Santa Claus, and he lives in the hearts of all who believe.
There is a God, and he too lives in the hearts of all who believe. It is up to those of us who do believe to share with others the love, forgiveness, and compassion of that being which is greater than ourselves. When we withhold judgment and condemnation and offer love, peace, and forgiveness, then we can find the true meaning of Christmas.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897. [See The People’s Almanac, pp. 1358–9.]
We take pleasure in answering 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:
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, 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 you 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 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, 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 lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Is There a Santa?
Do You Believe in Santa Claus?
A Real Christmas Miracle
One Christmas season, our family faced the holidays with no money. My husband had not worked all fall, we had a new baby, in addition to our five other kids, and I was beginning to panic. Finally, in mid-November, he said, "Well, I guess it's time for you to get a job." He hadn't worked for a while but had wanted me to stay home with the children, in case he found a job.
The day he said I should work, I headed out. I went to the fanciest, newest restaurant in the area, figuring it would be an easy way to get cash in the door immediately. I filled out the application and asked to speak to a manager. The manager on duty was nice but frank, "I'm sorry, we just aren't hiring right now. Maybe in two or three weeks, closer to Christmas. We usually get pretty busy during the holidays."
Undaunted, I replied, "You don't understand. I need a job today. I can't wait two or three weeks." He smiled, "Fine. Be here on Tuesday to start training."
I worked through the holidays, even working Thanksgiving day, and Christmas eve. Unfortunately, the hole we dug while my husband hadn't worked was quite deep. We were in no position to think about Christmas presents. It was a present to have the lights and heat still working.
I took about $50 to Goodwill on my way home from work on Christmas Eve. They were still open, and I tried to buy enough to make it look like Christmas.
Every night through December, I had been telling the children Christmas stories, designed to get them thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. With no presents under the tree, it wasn't easy to get them to focus on the importance of Christ's Birth, and giving the gift of love and time to your friends and family.
Each child spent time working on presents for their siblings. They made cards and snowflakes, wrote poems and drew pictures. By the time I was frantically scavenging Goodwill, they had made piles of presents for under the tree, with scrap paper, crayons, and glue.
After arriving with my meager bags on Christmas Eve, I tried to get everyone into the holiday spirit. We sang songs and decorated cookies for Santa. By bedtime, the kids were excitedly awaiting Santa's arrival, whispering enthusiastically about what he might bring them.
I didn't have the heart to tell them that Santa wasn't coming. I hoped half-heartedly that some family at church would miraculously know of our plight and rescue us at the last minute.
Christmas morning dawned, and with it, excited children raced into the living room. They looked around, confused.
Santa hadn't actually come. Everything was the same. Same tree. Same presents. Same cookies sitting on the same plate. I hadn't had the heart to eat Santa's cookies, and I was still waiting for that Christmas miracle. We told the children they could unwrap their gifts.
They kindly complimented one another for the lovely poems and pictures, snowflakes and cards. They feigned enthusiasm for the hand-me-downs from Goodwill.
The biggest excitement came from the cans of Pringles potato chips. It had been a tradition since the oldest kids were babies. Each child got their own can of Pringles. They were the hit of the day.
As the day progressed, I realized that no one was coming to save us. This was our Christmas. The funny thing was after the children got over their initial disappointment of Santa's non-appearance, they got on with their day. They didn't dwell on the fact that he didn't show up. They carried on, happy as ever.
The day after Christmas, I was back at work. The restaurant remained busy after the holidays, and I made a pocketful of money. Two more days of better than average tips gave me an idea.
One evening after work, I hit Walmart, seeking out the after Christmas sales. For about a hundred dollars, I filled a cart with discounted Christmas goodies. I put everything in a huge box and left the box in my car. After the children went to bed, I retrieved the box, taped it closed and set it under the still decorated Christmas tree. Then I wrote a note.
"Dear Kids, I found this box in the snow just outside the North Pole. It must have fallen off of Santa's sleigh. Sorry it took so long to get here, but we are still pretty busy at the North Pole. Don't forget to be good, because we are always watching. Love, the Elves"
The next morning, it took a little while for the kids to notice the new box under the tree. Imagine their surprise upon reading the letter, then finding a boxful of surprises. Their excitement was the best present ever. For a moment, all of my children, biggest to youngest believed in the magic of Christmas.
I have since tried to teach all of my children the importance in believing in blessings, and in believing in something greater than ourselves. When we can imagine life larger than is seen with the eyes, then we can live truly great lives.
My children are learning that blessings are real, and that God is real, and we all have the power to manifest our lives exactly as we would have them, without the limitations placed on our lives by those with small, limited imaginations. We have in our power to be and do anything we want.
Best Santa Ever
Years later, I was newly divorced, with six children living at home. I worked hard, but as a single mom, I knew I couldn't provide much of a Christmas for my children.
I figured the security of having a home with the rent paid and without the fear of eviction, along with heat, lights, and food was a good Christmas present.
Of course, there are groups and charities that provide gifts for needy families, but I didn't see my family as needy. We had the basics covered. We didn't "need" anything. As far as I was concerned that year, what we had gained in our lives far outweighed any presents I could purchase.
It is difficult, however, to explain to a houseful of children that their freedom, safety, and security is more important than presents. To kids, the world revolves around Christmas and presents. My children had experienced a few Christmas miracles over the years, so were not daunted when I explained that we wouldn't have a lot during the holidays.
The two teenage girls were both working and assured me that they would take care of Christmas for their younger siblings. Not wanting to whine about my circumstances, I just kept working, knowing that things would work out, regardless of the number of presents on Christmas day.
I belonged to a book club then, and although I didn't feel like I fit in socioeconomically, the girls in my book club were always kind. I began to feel like I belonged somewhere other than at work, and over the years, we had developed a close-knit friendship within our group.
As I went through my divorce and the changes that came along with that, my book club girlfriends were always there to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. Often they offered good advice about how to move forward with my life. That group of women was instrumental in teaching me that we create our own lives and that we are responsible to ourselves and to our children to create the best life we possibly can.
As Christmas approached that year, the women in book club presented me with the letter above. I began crying as they explained that the ten of them would take care of Christmas for my family. With only a couple of weeks to go, I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that they would help however they could.
I didn't realize the full extent of their generosity and kindness until Christmas Eve, when several cars, fully loaded with gifts arrived at my house near midnight. The children had gone to bed, excited for our first Christmas in our new home, and excited about the potential for Santa Claus, after all the hard years we had previously experienced.
As I watched my friends and their spouses unload the gifts, I began crying. I couldn't fully express my gratitude and amazement at what they had done. Each child had several gifts, and even I had some presents! It was a Christmas miracle indeed.
By the time they finished unloading the gifts, the entire living room was knee-deep in beautifully wrapped presents. They each hugged me and wished our family a merry Christmas, then headed to their own homes to prepare for the next morning.
I could hardly sleep, I was so excited for my children. They would never believe the surprise. Sure enough, by 5 a.m., shouts of joy exploded from the living room and my youngest son raced into my room to wake me.
"Mom, Mom!! Come see. Santa is real. He came and visited us last night."
I started crying again, as I saw the wonder and amazement in their eyes. All the clothes fit. And my friends didn't only buy socks and underwear, as I had requested, they had filled stockings with toys for each of the children, and candy and surprises for me.
Their beautiful expression of friendship and love created one of the happiest Christmas memories our family has shared over the years.
How to Create a Miracle at Christmas
Over the years, I have tried to teach my children that no matter how much or how little we have, we always have enough to share.
One Christmas, a good friend gave me the gift of a book called "The Christmas Jar," along with a mason jar. The book tells the story of a person who saved spare change and then presented the jar full of money to a needy family before the holidays. It is a beautifully written story that reminds us that the true meaning of the holidays is to make someone's life better.
As I read the story to my kids, we were inspired to begin our own Christmas jar. It was nearly Thanksgiving, and I doubted that we could fill an entire jar with coins. We had moved to Wyoming, and I was working at a minimum wage job. Although we weren't poor, we didn't have a lot extra.
I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to teach a good lesson. We always have enough to share. Slowly the change added up, and I occasionally added dollar bills. I even added a twenty. Finally, the week before Christmas, our jar was full. I couldn't believe we had actually done it.
The kids had all contributed the change from their meager allowances and added whatever coins they found along the way. As a result, our Christmas jar was full. It was time to select a recipient. We pondered the people we knew in town. We had delivered meals to needy families, and we knew a few people who could certainly use the extra money, but finally, the children decided on our elderly neighbor, a homebound widow.
We baked fresh cookies then took a plate full of goodies along with the jar and a note, to her door, rang the bell and ran away. We were close enough to hear her excited voice as she discovered the jar of money on her doorstep.
My kids beamed with happiness at having shared part of themselves with someone who was in need.
Yes, Children, There Is a Santa Claus
Santa is real. The magic and miracle of Christmas can be seen and felt throughout the year, if you only look for it, and choose to offer it to others. The gifts of love and forgiveness bring about the greatest miracles and magic in peoples lives. With these gifts, we free ourselves from our burdens of anger and resentment. We free the people we love from the prison of anger, shame and fear. And we create a miracle in our lives.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Deborah Demander