Since 1897 when an editor at The (New York) Sun wrote the most popular and reprinted opinion piece in the English language, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” newspapers and Father Christmas have been permanently linked.

The editorial was written in response to a letter written by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon inquiring about Santa Claus’ existence after hearing from her friends that he wasn’t real.

Francis Pharcellus Church, the writer who reluctantly penned the editorial, refused to allow his name to be attached to it. Yet, it is the care with which he crafted the piece that has made it withstand the test of time.

“Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus,” he replied. “The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.”

The editorial is ageless and serves as a reminder to us all, especially during the holiday season, that the best gifts of all — belief and togetherness — cannot be found under a tree.

“Is it all real? Ah, Virginia in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding,” Church concludes. “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.”

Nothing says Christmas quite like the letters children write to Santa Claus. This holiday season The State Journal is continuing a tradition we revived six years ago by printing local children’s letters to Santa.

Sponsored by WesBanco, the newspaper is accepting letters to Santa Claus from now through Dec. 15. They can be emailed to santaletters@state-journal.com, dropped off at our office located at 1216 Wilkinson Blvd. or they can be placed in the payment dropbox on the left side of the parking lot as you go around the building.

In addition to making sure Santa Claus receives the letters, we will also be publishing them in a special holiday greetings section in the Dec. 24 weekend edition of The State Journal.

It’s our way of saying Merry Christmas from Your Hometown Newspaper.

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