Christmas Countdown

Virginia O’Hanlon Day

afd-167325Today is Sunday, September 21, 2014 and there are just 95 days now until Christmas.

Today is Virginia O’Hanlon Day. In 1897 eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon sent a letter to The Sun asking if Santa Claus really existed. The response Virginia received from her timeless query was written by one of the paper’s editors, Francis P. Church. It has gone on to become on of the most reprinted editorials in newspaper publishing history.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Church famously said. “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.

The story of Virginia’s letter and its famous response has launched a number of commercial projects over the years that keep the story in the holiday spotlight each year. The editorial is quoted in Prancer, a frequently replayed Christmas movie. The story of the letter was crafted into an animated television special in 1974 by Bill Melendez, one of the creators of the Peanuts holiday specials. It also become a television movie in 1991 starring Richard Thomas.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.

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