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Subject: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. rss

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True Blue Jon
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Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"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.
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Xander Fulton
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So - no, there isn't really a Santa Claus. But please go ahead believing in him, because it's important for your parents' mental well being for you to live in a bubble world of fantasy and imagination that is materially detached from reality.
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"Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond."

I hope you regain some of that this Christmas.
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*ahem*

Quote:
"Bah, humbug"
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“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

---Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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In high school, in the final round of an academic competition, familiarity with this allowed me to win.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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Don't push that button too hard. Xmas may be sacred to some but it's a traditional night of murderous pogroms every year to others.
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We're not a Christian family, but we celebrate a secular Christmas and a very strange Easter. We decided not to do the Santa Claus thing with our daughter. This year (she's 4) she started asking about him, on several occasions, and I consistently said that he was just a nice story, and was completely fictional. Then she wanted to go meet a mall Santa, since her preschool friends were all talking about it. We went to the Museum of Flight instead, to avoid the insanity of the mall, and let her go sit on his lap and have the experience. Some kid in line told another kid, "This isn't the real Santa...this is an impostor. The real Santa is at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas."

And, in that moment, she decided that she wanted to believe. A few minutes later, she repeated what the boy said with the finality of faith. I shrugged at my wife and thought, "If she wants to believe in Santa Claus, that's her business."
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We taught our daughter about the historical basis for Santa and the mythology of Santa.

I remember when she was about 4 and someone asked her if she was looking forward to Santa coming to her house and she got a puzzled look on her face and replied, "Santa's dead."
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quozl wrote:
We taught our daughter about the historical basis for Santa and the mythology of Santa.

I remember when she was about 4 and someone asked her if she was looking forward to Santa coming to her house and she got a puzzled look on her face and replied, "Santa's dead."


Zombie Santa is skinny enough to slip down your chimney and gobble your cookies and milk while you sleep.
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wadenels wrote:
Zombie Santa is skinny enough to slip down your chimney and gobble your cookies and milk while you sleep.


That's why you should leave out this instead:

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quozl wrote:
wadenels wrote:
Zombie Santa is skinny enough to slip down your chimney and gobble your cookies and milk while you sleep.


That's why you should leave out this instead:


Green gelatinous slime one step removed from what comes out of the nose? yuk gulp
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whac3 wrote:
Don't push that button too hard. Xmas may be sacred to some but it's a traditional night of murderous pogroms every year to others.


Quote:
A pogrom (Russian: погро́м) is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres. The term pogrom was originally applied to refer to the 19th- and 20th-century attacks on Jews in the Russian Empire, though today the term is used more generally to apply to any similar violent persecutions of minorities.


I'm all about the helping.
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whac3 wrote:
Don't push that button too hard. Xmas may be sacred to some but it's a traditional night of murderous pogroms every year to others.


"Let's put Christ back in Pogroms!"
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quozl wrote:
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"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?


Papa was not referring to the newspaper. Papa was trying to blind his daughter.
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An alternative response: No, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus
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James King
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Osirus wrote:
An alternative response: No, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus

A new classic is born! I believe there is a lot to commend about this alternative view, because on balance, the Santa Claus tradition really does need to be reformed.

Remember: Although he may owe his physical appearance to Odinic mythological influences, the actual St. Nicholas is the root-origin model for Santa Claus. And who was Nicholas most renowned for helping long before he became achieved sainthood?

The poor.

For that reason, I propose the reformation and transition of Santa Claus back into the champion of the poor and genuinely needy -- in essence, back to his original spiritual roots. I advocate that the Santa Claus tradition should be updated to this effect: Because of all the poverty and deprivation in the world, Santa Claus must devote all his energies and resources to helping the poor and needy. At the same time, Santa asks that children and families alike help him in this effort by purchasing an appropriate toy to denote to a Christmas charity.

Naturally, for such a transition to occur in the first place, it will require some early adopters to set the new standard. Therefore, I challenge all of you parents and guardians with infants and toddlers young enough to not yet be able to comprehend what the man with the white beard in the red-and-white suit is all about to seriously consider putting Santa Claus back in Christmas the original Saint Nicholas way by telling your kids when they're eventually able to comprehend enough spoken words that Santa Claus is the toy-deliverer for the poor and genuinely needy, but that he also welcomes children to help him in his global effort by buying a toy(s) to denote in his name to a local Christmas charity.

A real-life example of that very object lesson was made by the parents of Sylvia Seymour Akin of Memphis, Tennessee more than 60 years ago on Christmas morning, 1949. More than 60 years later, Ms. Akin finally wrote down that meaningful experience and submitted it to National Public Radio's "Story Corps" short-autobiographical story series. It has since become a perennial holiday favorite; is part of NPR's "Tinsel Tales"; and was one of the many stories compiled in the "I Thought My Father Was God" anthology audiobook.

To hear "Christmas Morning, 1949", Sylvia Akin's story, read by Paul Oster, story editor of the "Story Corps" series, go to http://www.npr.org/2011/12/21/17488106/tinsel-tales-npr-chri... and scan down the list until you get to the "Christmas Morning, 1949" entry and click the link to hear the audio.

Another webpage lists links for both the text of the story and an NPR audio link as well at: http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?53065-Christma...


Back in 1995, country-western singer Toby Keith introduced a new Christmas song, "Santa, I'm Right Here", whose sentiment best encapsulates what I'm talking about in terms of shifting Santa's priorities to the poor and genuinely needy.






So, dear parents, with the transition back to a Santa Claus tradition more in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, you yourselves will finally be able to have the best of two worlds: you can at last acknowledge and take a bow for your own efforts at gift-giving to your own children while at the same time helping out Santa Claus with his "new" original mission work.


Merry Christmas,

James King
Chief Advocate & Organizer
Society for the Reformation of the Santa Claus Tradition
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Nice to see you back, James.

Darilian
 
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Nice to see you too, Ken. Take it the holidays didn't utterly crush you with an overdose of good will towards men- nice to see SOME venom coming from you!!!!

*I kid, I kid*

Now if I can just recover and have something interesting to say myself.....

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
Nice to see you too, Ken.

+1
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James King
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Alaren wrote:
Osirus wrote:
An alternative response: No, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus

Wow. Weak and unoriginal and thus wholly uninspiring -- a completely insipid piece of hackneyed, derivative trash. What a waste of effort and of readers' time.

We tell our children that Santa Claus is as real as Mario (of the Super Mario Bros.) or any other fictional character. This has worked well for us, as they are able to participate in the lessons the story teaches without getting hung up on metaphysical details (or eventual accusations of deliberate deception).

But were you up front and forthcoming with your children in defining exactly what the word "fictional" means? After all, that's not a word many kids under 8 years old would readily understand.

And if you had defined "fictional" as meaning not real or imaginary, wouldn't you have in effect delivered essentially the same central thrust of the response as that provided by the alternate "Yes, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus" piece?

I remember when I was 6 years old right before Christmas how excited I was to be going to Sears to see the "real-life" Hanna Barbera characters of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and Quickdraw McGraw who were going to be making a personal appearance there. (Unbeknownst to me, they were on tour courtesy of the actors attired in Disney-theme-park-quality character costumes.) Although I watched their cartoons on TV, the fact that they'd been announced to be making personal appearances made them real to me. Since I'd never been to Disneyland or seen any documentary footage of it, I wasn't aware then of such elaborate theme-park character costumes. And even after I finally saw the Hanna-Barbera characters, I continued to suspend disbelief because -- well -- they'd made a fairly impressive enough personal appearance to lead me to infer that the cartoons were based on their lives.

I think it would be far simpler to boil the "What To Tell Your Kids About Santa Claus" talk down to a matter of Character (a capital "C") Versus character (a small "c").

The capital "C" version of Character refers to the principles and ethics that formed the character (moral backbone and psyche) of the actual non-fiction priest Nicholas who would later be acclaimed as a holy saint.

The small-letter "c" version of character refers to the latter-day personages spun off from Saint Nicholas (namely, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kingle, Papa Noel, etc.

By my reckoning, the only plausible way to merge Character back with character (the latter-day personages spun off from St. Nicholas) would be to return the latter to the actual saint's spiritual roots, namely to do a corrective makeover of the Santa Claus Tradition by having Santa Claus and his other counterparts to more faithfully emulate the example of the real-life St. Nicholas of yore by becoming the champions of the poor and genuinely needy.

That way, a parent could honestly say with a perfectly straight face that although the latter-day personages spun off from St. Nicholas don't exist as flesh-and-blood beings, the principles and ethics they embody are nonetheless very much real ones we should all embrace. What's more, with the reformation of the Santa Claus Tradition, kids would no longer be asking that "Is Santa real or not?" question out of self-interest but moreso out of concern for other less fortunate kids. (And parents would be able to fully acknowledge and get credit for their own gift-giving to their children without any go-between.

But I would never equate such frivolous characters as Mario (from the Nintendo Mario Brothers video game) as the equivalent in any sense of Santa Claus and the other latter-day personages spun off from the actual real-life St. Nicholas.

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Alaren wrote:
The Santa of today's mythology is only slightly further removed from reality than many historical figures lauded by folks of every political stripe; how much does your own mental picture of famous people you've never met--Martin Luther King Jr., say, or George Washington--differ from your mental picture of Santa Claus?


True enough. I remember the story my parents told me of Martin Luther King and his flying Moose, and how George Washington visits every house in the world every president's day.
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Alaren wrote:
The Santa of today's mythology is only slightly further removed from reality than many historical figures lauded by folks of every political stripe; how much does your own mental picture of famous people you've never met--Martin Luther King Jr., say, or George Washington--differ from your mental picture of Santa Claus?

True enough. I remember the story my parents told me of Martin Luther King and his flying Moose, and how George Washington visits every house in the world every president's day.

I pulled a Linus when I was in my early teens and convinced my younger cousins that they ought to make nests out of pine needles and set them outside the back door on Thanksgiving Eve so that they'd be visited by the Great Turkey.

To my utter astonishment, I only recently learned that one of those cousins of mine has continued to observe the Great Turkey Tradition with her own children. Apparently, she'd been charmed enough by the notion to want to adopt and perpetuate it even though my Great Turkey creation was just a carbon copy of the Easter Rabbit Tradition only done at Thanksgiving. (By the way, candy corn works as a viable Thanksgiving treat as much as it does for Halloween. LOL!)

Nevertheless, I got a real jolt out of the blue when one segment of the the Simpsons' 2010 "Treehouse of Terror" Halloween episode spoofed Peanuts' "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" animated holiday special and featured a monstrous Great Pumpkin on the rampage who meets his equal in a death match against a giant Tom Turkey. (Although it wasn't called or identified by the human characters in the show as "the Great Turkey", that's what it amounted to just the same.)






Maybe I should've worked out a Linus-like angle for the Great Turkey, like: "On Thanksgiving Eve, the Great Turkey flies through the air and delivers candy only to the most thankful of children."


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Alaren wrote:
Ah, but when did your parents tell you about King's infidelity? Or his academic plagiarism? And did they ever tell you about Washington's wooden teeth or the chopped-down cherry tree?

The King facts do not get much circulation among children, while the Washington fictions do. But please feel free to set your sass aside and try again. d^_~b


Well I'm not American, so I didn't hear much about either of those people until I was well in my teens.

However, the fictional Santa is I think fairly clearly much, much further from the true St. Nick than a George Washington with wooden teeth.
 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:

Back in 1995, country-western singer Toby Keith introduced a new Christmas song, "Santa, I'm Right Here", whose sentiment best encapsulates what I'm talking about in terms of shifting Santa's priorities to the poor and genuinely needy.


Do to a soul-devouring aversion to country music, I submit an alternative:

Quote:
Father Christmas - The Kinks

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I'd be glad

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said:
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Don't give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don't give my sister a cuddly toy
We don't want a jigsaw or monopoly money
We only want the real McCoy

Father Christmas, give us some money
We'll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one
He's got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We'll beat you up, so don't make us annoyed

Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

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