Why Must There Be A Santa Claus, Virginia?


Why are we so intent on making children believe in Santa Claus? What would Christmas lose if parents told the truth? Why do we want so badly for children to have a surreal magical trance-like experience of Christmas through the wonder of Santa Claus? Do you remember or have you heard of the editorial, “Yes, Virginia. There Is A Santa Claus? An 8-year old girl asked her father if there really was a Santa Claus. He told her to write to the newspaper because if they printed it, it was true. From Wikipedia:

“Is There a Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 20, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.

Go here to read Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the New York Sun and the response by Francis Pharcellus Church, one of the paper’s editors.

Kids ask parents if there really is a Santa Claus and parents stammer and stutter for what reason? To not have to admit 5-years of lies? Whose loss is bigger for knowing the truth, the parent or child? Even for adults, the Santa story has come to symbolize good will and the Christmas spirit. I have nothing against Santa, but what does it say about our society that we crave magic and wonder and the supernatural? What are we looking for? Did we miss it?

If you do not believe in celebrating or even commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, why bother with Christmas? We can give gifts any time of year, really. What’s the story of Christmas if there is nothing to commemorate? We made up(or embellished) a story and an icon which gives us an excuse to be kind, generous, loving. Why do we need a reason? What’s the point in being kind, generous and loving? Where does that drive for us to do good things come from?

Could there be someone greater than ourselves who created us with a built-in desire for friendship, brotherhood, and community and dare I say, a homing device that draws our hearts to him? What would our world look like if we actually pursued good will and the Christmas spirit for no other reason than out of gratitude to our creator who gives us everything? Ah, but then we would need to believe in this person? Seems we need to believe in something one way or the other.

I know, I know, lots of questions. Tell me, what do you think?

3 responses to this post.

  1. I think you can be truthful without taking Santa completely away from your kids. My kids never believed in Santa as a person, though they knew other kids did. When they were old enough to ask questions, I told them Santa was the love parents have for their children.
    But my husband’s oldest daughter still gets a “Santa” gift, under our tree, every year. It’s just a fun thing they have going.

    The important thing is to make sure your kids know the real “reason for the season”, even if you decide to do the imaginary stuff too.


  2. Posted by Denise on December 8, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    I think this could apply to Santa Claus, too…

    When Michael was in first grade and had lost a tooth, a little girl down the street said to him “You know, there is no Tooth Fairy…it’s just your parents!” He came running home and asked me ” Is there a tooth fairy? Amber told me there isn’t one, that it’s just your parents.”

    I thought about it for a minute and then said, ” Not everyone believes in the same things. If something is important to you and you believe in it, then that’s what really matters. Others’ don’t have to agree with you…do you believe that there’s a Tooth Fairy?” He said “Yes!” I said, “Well, then there must be a Tooth Fairy …” He has never asked me if “I” was Tooth Fairy.


  3. “Why are we so intent on making children believe in Santa Claus?”

    I will speak for me and my Mrs. and not presume to speak for all parents.

    For us the whole Santa Clause myth is about the excitement and anticipation of that magical morning of Christmas.

    The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with questions about Santa, his reindeer, how he gets every where in one night, etc. It is much like when you read a book to your children. They listen intently and want to know more about the “subject matter.”

    I don’t think it’s lieing at all. Obviously there no longer is a St. Nicholas but there once was.

    The reason WE give gifts at Christmas is to celebrate the birth of the Savior and too mirror what the Wise Men did on that first Christmas. We give gifts to those whom we love and cherish in our lives.

    We also make sure our “new kids” understand what Christmas is really about. However, we don’t exclude decorating and singing and enjoying all the pleasures of the Christmas season.

    It is my personal belief that Jesus enjoys us enjoying His season.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: