Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…and he lives in New Jersey

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 Star-Ledger, ‘it's so,’ because they only have a few staff writers left and they have lots of time on their hands to cover stories that aren’t that important.

Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Flemington, NJ

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 on reality shows and MTV news breaks. In fact, if it’s not mentioned by the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus, I doubt that it would even be comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be man's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours a man is a mere insect. If you don’t believe me, go to the Short Hills Mall on a weekend afternoon and tell me that it doesn’t look like an ant farm.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he lives in New Jersey. We’re talking about an overweight bearded man wearing a matching track suit. He wouldn’t fit in anywhere else. He exists as certainly as corruption and property taxes and high auto insurance rates exist.

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus and if he didn’t live in New Jersey. It would be as dreary as if there were no Atlantic City casinos or the Jersey Shore to make tolerable this existence. We then would have no enjoyment, except when Rita’s Ices is open in the summer, and the eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished the moment you can’t get a Blendini.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in double-dipping pensioners! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, and if he did, he’d better make sure that they’re all legal in this country, otherwise Steve Lonegan will be on your papa’s case faster than Sharpe James puts a envelope in his jacket pocket.

But even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down the chimney, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. I’ve never been to Cumberland County and I don’t know anyone who has, but I’m told that it actually does exist. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world, except maybe George Norcross. I mean he seems to always be in just the right place at the right time. Maybe he’s Santa Claus.We just don’t know.

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 labor unions could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain.

Or, if you palm the right guy a $20 bill, the curtain is moved. No questions asked. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all of New Jersey there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus!

A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. But at some point, he’ll retire to Florida.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…and he lives in New Jersey