Friday, December 9, 2011

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus.... The Christmas Motherlode Post

Currently Reading: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Happy Friday! I have wrapped the Christmas season tight around me lately and my soul is completely full. Right now, I am enjoying some "writing time" in my favorite coffee shop, surrounded by the Christmas spirit: Christmas carols on the radio, and the entire place draped in berries and lights and fake plastic pine. And this peppermint white chocolate mocha (I know.. be jealous, because it's amazing) is the perfect muse.
We spent Wednesday night putting up our tree and now it truly feels like Christmas at home. Our first Christmas in our own home... it's enough to make me tear up.


I know I'm not the only one, but when I anticipate Christmas, many of my thoughts creep back to childhood memories. Gazing into the flame of an Advent candle as "Heidchi Bumbeidchi" swells through the room instantly turns me into a child again, watching Oma light the Advent wreath. Certain songs or smells transport me to the Christmas where I got my dollhouse, the yearly tradition of decorating the tree with Mom, putting up Oma's Christmas Village. Memories that lie dormant all year long come into bright focus as December dawns: Giggling with my sister in my bed on Christmas Eve, sampling my mother's cookies, setting my St. Nikolaus boot on the windowsill, and waking up on the first day of Christmas break. What is it about Christmas that makes me not only remember past Christmases, but yearn for them?


One of my favorite things about Christmas is the dedication to tradition that we all, to some extent, participate in. We bake the same recipes we watched our mothers and grandmothers make, we watch the same beloved movies, and we strive to do everything the way it was last year and the year before. Tradition is cozy and safe, something that helps give our life meaning, and it holds particular importance with this most important and beautiful of holidays. My traditions connect me to my parents, my sister, my grandparents. It affirms who I am and what I believe in. And with each tradition I follow and each happy-cozy feeling that flutters in my soul, my faith and happiness and contentment with the world increases. My traditions are a way to declare my intense love for this holiday and my plan to celebrate it right.


Now I have the wonderful opportunity to introduce some of my traditions to Nathan, and partake in some of his, thereby creating our very own. I cannot wait to someday help shape my children's Christmas memories and give them, through our traditions and celebrations, the same sense of love and joy I get at Christmas-time.

In honor of my Christmas-induced mood, I'm posting a letter from the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 answering the query of a little girl named Virginia. This may not be a poem, but it is so beautiful and eloquent, it may as well be. The fat bearded man may not physically exist but everything he represents- love, childhood, faith, generosity does exist. It started with a baby in a manger over 2000 years ago, and continues in you and in me.
"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, 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.
Merry Christmas! I pray that you savor all of your Christmas traditions and find joy in spreading a little Christmas cheer today!


  1. I am glad you and I can both continue and begin our own traditions. Traditions are truly profound because they not only connect the past and present, but also are focused on the future. I love you so much and I cannot wait to share these traditions with our own family. Hobbes loves his stocking by the way! :)

  2. That letter always makes me tear up. I'm most certain that this year, more than ever I am going to cling to the things that have always made Christmas wonderful and that will continue to for many years to come. Love you!

  3. Ever since I was a child one of my favourite activities is putting our Christmas tree up that Paul and I have had since our childhood. I will have two trees to decorate this year as we will put up a real tree in the dining-room. I get very excited at Christmas! It is a magical time of year! xx


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