Yes Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus

My baby is a confident 10 year old girl who loves Christmas.  Last season, around New Year’s, we had a honest discussion about the season and, as her Dad, there’s a certain amount of grieving over another passage of childhood.  I can’t read the final pages of The Polar Express to her without my voice breaking and tears filling my eyes. 

I still believe in Santa Claus after all and I still hear the bells.  And after we talked, she tells me she does too.  So does my son and so does my wife.  We’re a family of true believers,and why not? The facts all point to the existence of Santa Claus.  It’s simply another way to say St. Nicholas. 

From the Wiki posting, there is this:

Sinterklaas (also called Sint-Nicolaas or De Goedheiligman in Dutch [About this sound pronunciation (help·info)]) and Saint Nicolas in French) is a traditional Winter holiday figure in the Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba, Suriname and Netherlands Antilles, celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas’ eve (5 December) or, in Belgium, on the morning of 6 December. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of, among other things, children.

It is also celebrated in the traditionally Germanic parts of France (North, Alsace, Lorraine), as well as in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and in the town of Trieste and in Eastern Friuli in Italy. Additionally, many Roman Catholics of Alsatian and Lotharingian descent in Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrate “Saint Nicholas Day” on the morning of 6 December. The traditions differ from country to country, even between Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ Eve (5 December) is the chief occasion for gift-giving. The evening is called “sinterklaasavond” or “pakjesavond” (“presents evening”). In the Netherlands, children receive their presents on this evening whereas in Belgium, children put their shoe in front of the fireplace on the evening of 5 December, then go to bed, and find the presents around the shoes on the morning of the 6th.

And, if we’re to believe newspaper editorials which has a basis in fact (coughing), there is this gem from the New York Sun from 1897.  The link takes you to the actual clip as it appeared, but we’ve placed it below.

Merry Christmas to all of our friends from across the political spectrum.  That which divides us is slim compared to what we all agree on. 

“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 [what] 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.