Tag Archives: Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia …

I have shared this editorial with you before. I am doing so again today. And maybe next year and the year after that.

It is an iconic piece of writing by Francis Pharcellus Church, editor of the New York Sun. He wrote it in 1897 in response to an 8-year-old girl’s plea for him to dispel what her friends had told her.

Here is his response.

***

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.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Yes, Virginia …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am in the mood to share something here.

It is a classic editorial written by a legendary newspaper editor. It comes from Francis Pharcellus Church, editor of the New York Sun. He wrote the editorial in 1897 in response to a little girl’s question. You’ve seen it many times already, I am sure. I just want to share it here in this season of joy. This essay has withstood the test of time and will do so forever and ever.

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.

War on Christmas: always been a phony issue

Santa Claus is on his way.

Christmas is about to arrive. We’ll have a good day. We’ll spend some time with our sons, our daughter-in-law, our granddaughter and her brother.

Our time preceding this holy day has been relaxing and full of joy. I refuse to let the “hassles” supposedly associated with the holiday season get the better of me. There are no hassles as far as I’m concerned, so don’t tell me about them.

I want to assure you as well that as I’ve done my shopping — whether for groceries or gifts during this season — I keep hearing “Merry Christmas” from vendors’ employees as I complete my purchases.

Isn’t that cool? Sure it is! It’s also evidence as I see it of the phoniness of the so-called “war on Christmas” that conservative mainstream media tend to suggest is under way. Former Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly was the chief proponent of this phony war; he’s gone from Fox now, but others have mentioned it from time to time.

Donald Trump campaigned for president vowing to insist that businesses with their customers “Merry Christmas,” and not “Happy Holidays.” Fine, except that it’s never been an issue or a problem.

So I want to declare tonight that the war on Christmas doesn’t exist. Let’s just declare victory against a non-existent enemy against this joyous holiday and go about our business.

There. I just did.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Ready for a joyous day

In the interest of observing and honoring the Christmas spirit, I am going to pledge to go soft on the president of the United States of America during the next 24 hours.

I use this blog as a cudgel to beat Donald John Trump over the noggin as often as I deem fit. It’s quite often, indeed.

However, we’re going to honor the birth of a child who came to Earth to absolve the rest of us of our sins. Yes, we’ll also celebrate the more secular side of the holiday, the arrival of Santa Claus.

It’s a day to open gifts from loved ones and to relish the joy of children who have waited all year long for Santa Claus’s arrival.

It’s no day to discuss politics, or public policy or the many aspects of both that trouble us.

Christmas also is a day to reminisce on when we all were much younger. Here is one of my memories:

When I was a boy, Mom and Dad had this ritual we played out every year. We enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve at home. My sisters and I would go to bed early, try to sleep through the night. We would get up way before sun-up on Christmas Day. We would wake Mom and Dad, who would roll out.

My sisters and I would leave a glass of milk and some cookies on a plate for Santa to consume when he arrived with our gifts. We would notice the partially drunk glass of milk and a half-eaten cookie on the plate. There was the note from Santa, thanking us — by name — for the treat we had left. It didn’t dawn on us in the moment that Santa’s handwriting looked just like Mom’s . . . go figure!

We’re all grown up now. We’re all serious individuals (most of the time). However, we still all enjoy Christmas and revel in the joy it brings. So does my wife. Our sons are grown, too. Oh, but we have a granddaughter now who cannot wait for Santa Claus to come.

I’m going to concentrate on those joyful moments and rejoice in the event that Christmas symbolizes.

I’ll get back to the other stuff in due course.

I just want the president of the United States to avoid doing something profoundly stupid on this holy day. Absent that stupidity, I’ll look for positive subjects on which to comment.

Merry Christmas!

NORAD’s Santa Tracker still on duty . . . despite the shutdown

This is good news for children around the world.

The Santa Tracker who works for the North American Aerospace Defense Command will be on duty Christmas Eve, despite the partial shuttering of the federal government.

Yep, NORAD will continue to track Santa Claus’ progress as he makes his way south from the North Pole to deliver his gifts to anxious children everywhere.

You have no idea how happy this makes a lot of little ones, even if they don’t quite grasp the circumstances surrounding Santa’s annual worldwide trek this year.

We have a little one in our family who’s expecting Santa Claus to visit in the next little while. Emma, our granddaughter, isn’t up to speed on the government shutdown kerfuffle. It doesn’t matter to us. Her parents won’t tell her; nor will her brothers; you can rest assured that her grandmothers and grandfathers — all four of us — will remain mum on the subject of shutting down the government while we are in her presence.

As National Public Radio reportsDespite gridlock in Washington, more than 1,500 military personnel and volunteers in an air force base in Colorado will be hard at work Christmas Eve, tracking Santa Claus and answering children’s calls.

We can all breathe a little more easily over the next day or so while we await the Jolly Old Man’s arrival. NORAD is on top of the situation.

Here comes the Bum Steer issue

cz0xqetukaat6as

My pal Dave makes an excellent point about Texas Monthly’s annual Bum Steer Awards issue — which is hands down my favorite issue every year of the renowned feature publication.

He hopes they “don’t go to press too early,” given the wackiest of years that’s about to pass into history.

Boy howdy, 2016 gave the Texas Monthly editors plenty of material with which to work. Indeed, this year produced a national phenomenon, starting — and perhaps ending — with the stunning outcome of the presidential election.

The Bum Steer issue has been my favorite for the nearly 33 years my family and I have lived in Texas. I look every year in this issue for something that happens in my hometown that qualifies as a Bum Steer. Whether it was in Beaumont, where we lived for nearly 11 years, or in Amarillo, where we’ve been for the past 22, I always anticipate that Texas Monthly will find something truly weird to highlight and share with the rest of its readership across this vast state.

I actually have a favorite candidate for a Bum Steer. It just occurred, so Texas Monthly likely couldn’t get into print. It was the idiotic display of exhibitionism by “Pastor” David Grisham, who went to Westgate Mall a few days ago to berate children and their parents who wanted the kids to visit with Santa Claus.

Talk about a killjoy, man! Grisham sought to tell the kids that Santa ain’t real. He’s fake. Some parents took umbrage at this guy’s bad manners and boorish behavior.

Well, the Bum Steer issue will be out soon. Here’s hoping Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle are well represented, no matter what.

‘Pastor’ displays anti-Santa exhibitionist traits

lighten bag

David Grisham proclaims himself to be a “pastor.”

His actions are far from pastoral. He ventured to Westgate Mall in Amarillo over the weekend and berated children and their parents over the kids’ desire to sit on Santa Claus’s lap and tell the Jolly Old Man what they want for Christmas.

Grisham has demonstrated this tendency before to thrust himself into the media limelight, whether it’s seeking to burn a Quran at a public park in Amarillo or launching a boycott against another Texas city because voters elected an openly gay mayor.

The good news from this “pastor’s” latest rant, though, is that the kids aren’t buying the garbage he is peddling, which is that Santa ain’t real.

Of course he is in the hearts of the children. How dare this clown seek to tell the kids any differently!

http://www.newschannel10.com/story/34034882/amarillo-families-say-kids-still-believe-despite-grishams-actions

As KFDA NewsChannel 10 reported: “John Bennett was one father who can be seen in the video standing in line with his children to see Santa. He says he was outraged when Grisham began to impose his beliefs onto children. ‘Seeing the looks on my children’s faces of them hurting made me hurt and I wanted to put a stop to it just like the rest of the parents in line did,’ Bennett said.”

Grisham now says he’s getting “death threats” because of his ridiculous ranting at Westgate Mall. I won’t pass judgment on whether he is or isn’t getting such threats — which is something this “pastor” perhaps ought to do regarding the existence of Santa Claus.

Perhaps it might suit Grisham better if he simply affirmed to his Repent Amarillo flock what they already believe, which is that Christmas should be reserved solely for the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

He also ought to cease the ridiculous exhibitionism for which he has become infamous in his hometown.

No Santa Claus? Are you kidding, ‘pastor’?

To be brutally honest, I hardly ever give this guy a passing thought.

However, he has thrust himself into the news yet again. David Grisham, the Repent Amarillo “pastor” who likes calling attention to himself, has done so in splendid fashion.

He went to Westgate Mall this past Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News, and berated children waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. Santa Claus “doesn’t exist!” he told the children and their parents.

Really, “pastor”? Not in anyone’s heart? Not in their imagination?

Oh, no. This guy wants Christmas to be strictly, solely, exclusively about celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth. Hasn’t anyone ever informed this fellow that one can do both? I’m going to presume for a moment that when he was a child he got to sit on Santa’s lap and tell the Jolly Old Man what he wanted for Christmas.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas/2016/12/12/santa-claus-exist-texas-pastor-heckles-children-parents-waiting-meet-santa-mall

As the Morning News article points out, Grisham has paraded himself in front of the media before. He once tried to launch a boycott against the city of Houston because voters there elected an openly gay mayor, Annise Parker; he also sought to burn a Quran, but had the copy of the Islamic holy book taken from him at the last minute at Sam Houston Park in Amarillo by a skateboarder.

No Santa Claus, eh?

xexhibits_online_yesvirginia_g4031-150x150-jpg-pagespeed-ic-qyopkfogcc

Well, now is a good time to bring back the classic essay that dispels for all time the no-Santa farce. Perhaps you’ve heard of the piece that was written by Francis Pharcellus Church. It was published on Sept. 21, 1897 in the New York Sun.

http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/online/yes-virginia/

“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”

 

Take that, “Pastor” Grisham!

Blogger’s Note: I refuse to refer to David Grisham as a pastor without putting quote marks around the word, as in “pastor.” To my way of thinking and to my understanding of the Bible, he is nothing of the sort.

 

Secular can mix with the holy

bible-Sunlight

I had an interesting conversation this morning with a young friend, who told me about someone with whom she is close who doesn’t allow her children to celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion.

Why? Well, my friend said, this other person and her husband are devout Christians and want to respect the holy nature of the holiday, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. She said they believe allowing the children to climb onto Santa’s lap at the mall and ask him for Christmas gifts takes away from the holiday’s spiritual meaning.

Fine, I said. “But I don’t believe there’s any exclusivity involved here,” I added. My friend agreed.

“You can celebrate both,” I said. Again, she agreed.

I’ll add here that I also believe in both the biblical version of the world’s creation and in evolution. Moreover, the Bible tells us that God created humankind through Adam and Eve, who then produced two sons. As far as I can tell, the Old Testament doesn’t specify that he created only Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel — and left it at that.

My friend did add, though, a rather ironic twist to the tale, which is that the family she mentioned celebrates Halloween, allowing the kids to dress up in costume and go scarf up all the candy they can carry.

I’ll add this thought.

The Jesus I’ve read about in the Bible cherished children and wanted nothing but happiness for them. My sense is that he would approve of a Santa Claus-based celebration — as long as Mom and Dad made sure they understood as well the real intent of the holiday. He might even approve of Halloween and, oh yes, the Easter Bunny.

I am now open to any comments you might have on this subject.

Feel free to weigh in.

 

Here’s how you shop for Christmas gifts

maxresdefault

I am considering writing a shoppers’ manual.

It’ll be from a guy’s perspective. I believe I have mastered the technique for Christmas shopping. Today, I took it to a new level of brutal efficiency.

Here’s how it went … and please forgive me if I sound a bit boastful.

  • I left the house this morning at 8:30. I headed for a major department store. I had one thing in mind to purchase for my wife at this store. I found it, took it off the rack and then sauntered toward another part of the store. I found another item and took that off the rack.
  • I then hot-footed it to another pre-planned location within the store. Grabbed the item. Then I paid for all of it. I left the store.
  • I drove across the street to the regional mall: Westgate Mall.
  • I marched through the mall entrance and then went to a store specializing in West Texas apparel. I then found another pre-determined item. I bought it.
  • Then I wandered into a health store and found some cool things to put in her stocking. I bought them, too.

There you have it, fellas. I was done in less than two hours.

Start to finish. Could we ever persuade our wives and/or girlfriends to do it this way? You may stop laughing now.

What’s my secret?

Write a list. Stick to it. Head to the retail outlets early in the day before most of your community has had its final cup of coffee in the morning.

Be disciplined while you’re looking. Stay focused. Consider it to be akin to a surgical strike.

Does it sound like a tried-and-true men’s shopping formula for success during this wonderful holiday season? I think so.

Hey, I got all this done with four whole days to go before Santa arrives.