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RARE Green Breasted Mango
Central American Hummingbird in Texas!.

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Yes, Virginia - mix in Fragments for Friday with a dollop of critters

For the past week our area of Texas has been getting rain. Finally...some good slow moving storms that linger and has left some nourishing moisture to our parched landscape. And with the rains, the two of us have been just passing time walking; mainly indoors at the shopping centers. One morning this week, we had a break in the drizzle for a few hours and we ended up at the beach. Oh, and the forecasted predictions are that we're to have another front stall over us by the end of the weekend to give us much MORE rain. I hope so, the rainfall amount for the year is still nearly 20 inches deficit...the dry hot summer still lingers in my memory. I want green grass again. [Even if I don't like to mow it often. LOL] But, mostly we stayed under the dry protection of the buildings in town. The 2nd largest mall here... in the center entry lobby, Santa Land has been set up. Altho Santa was no where to be seen when we arrived to walk around, early in the a.m. when mall walkers take advantage of no 'shopper' traffic... I took advantage of the quiet time and took a 'walk about' so I could share the seasonal display. These are FRAGMENTS of a fun little village along with frosty critters ---

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, 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.

Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote The Sun's response to Virginia.

Historical clippings courtesy of

YES, Virginia Editorial property of
The Sun, NYC

c. 1897


  1. Anni, Thamks for posting the letter--and what a great letter it is. So glad you are getting some much needed rain. We too had a good rain the other day but still need more. It is going to take a lot to make up for what we didn't get this summer. Have a great weekend. Mickie :)

  2. What a great post, thanks for sharing.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  3. I love the idea of Santa Claus! Your blog looks very Christmasy--I like it!

  4. I never knew thats where the phrase came from! Very interesting, and rather nice that they actually answered her!

  5. Thank you for giving us this precious piece, in its entirely.

    And for the delightful decorations, in your Mall.

    Hoooooooooray for rain for TX!!!!!!!!! No better Christmas Present!!! :-)

    Gentle hugs,
    "It is good to be children sometimes,
    And never better than at Christmas."

    ~~Charles Dickens

  6. I had never seen the entire response before, Anni! That was really special, along with all the frosty critters way down south. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. When I was young I always thought that letter was written by my mother as her name is Virginia! ha! Loved all the beautiful pictures from the mall. I love to look at all the things that they do in the malls to make them look so festive. I must admit I steal ideas from them sometimes........

    I have that little salt and pepper Santa and Mrs. Santa and have had them for years. My SIL gave them to me one year for Christmas YEARS ago! So cute!!

    I am so glad you are getting the much needed rain! We had rain yesterday and would have rather it had been snow but it's moisture so I can't complain. I know how you all have suffered through such drought.

    Love your header, you are such a talented lady!!!

  8. Loved the little letter to Virginia! so glad that was his answer...my best friend always says to her little girl, "this is Santa; he's not real" Makes me so sad! I read on the side about your son...I'll be praying for good news and good answers to his life long dream. Keep us posted :) Merry Christmas

  9. I love this post, Anni...really enjoyed it.

    Glad you are getting rain...we have had very little out here but thankful for what we DO get.
    Our drought continues...and probably will, all thru the winter.

    Hope you have a great Christmas.
    xo bj

  10. I want to thank you for stopping by and I enjoyed your comment.
    I also enjoyed reading that article and looking at all the photos that you put with it.
    It was really interesting.

  11. I believe. And my kids laugh at me. But the joy of childhood lives in my memory. And it is as real as today.

  12. Aren't malls wonderful for keeping dry when it's raining - or in our case snowing! I don't have to buy a thing in the mall, but just love to walk around and take in the sights! Thanks for sharing the photos of those cute critters! Have a great countdown week to Christmas!

  13. Wow, it looks great in here!!! I love the decor!! My daughte is a true believer as well. Santa is her guy ;-) I am so glad TX is getting some rain!!!

  14. Ms Anni mom and I thank you for such interesting posts with beautiful pictures. We always feel smarter after we read your posts!!
    Hugs Madi and Mom

  15. I love this post! Thanks for sharing. Your photos are great!

  16. Anonymous12/16/2011

    Das sind so niedliche Bilder, absolut weihnachtlich und auch fröhlich.

    Herzlichst ♥ Marianne

  17. Beautiful shots of the village. That letter is timeless.

  18. That letter can always bear repeating on a regular basis.

  19. Let the kids believe what their parents have told them.

    I grew up in a culture where there is no Santa and no tooth fairy. Now I am a teacher, when a kid says there is no Santa, I hush him up so he doesn't ruin the fun of others.


  20. I wish I could go in that mall! You got some really good photos, I love the panda bear!

  21. Our local newspaper usually re-prints this around this time of year and it's lovely. I love reading it every year.

  22. I think we have to love Santa and keep believing in him, one way or another.

  23. Anni, lovely post today. I've seen the movie many times and always enjoy it. An oldie and a goldie.

    We have been getting a lot of rain in our area as well, but tonight it is much colder. Hoping for just a little snow for Christmas but will have to wait and see.

    There's something for you on my blog. Enjoy!!!


  24. Ah yes indeed. Truer words were never spoken. How else could all the seasonal kindness and generosity take place?

    I'll be praying for your doctoral candidate to get to finish his degree at Rice.

    My daughter is working on hers at Virginia Tech, always the risk-taker. She's been teaching there but now will work on her research full time. I hope.

  25. I never tire of reading the response to Virginia's letter, it's just so heartwarming. I just feel sorry for anyone who doesn't believe in Santa Claus:-)

    Oh how darling is that Santa Land?!! Such a gorgeous display. They even have Rudolph there:-) We're not allowed to take pictures in our malls over here which is a bummer because I'd love to be able to take pictures of our displays. Twice I've taken out my little camera and twice I've had a security guard advance me to say no cameras allowed. Bah Humbug! lol xoxo

  26. Thank you for sharing.

  27. A wonderful Christmas post! I never get tired of hearing Virginia's story! So beautiful!

    Re: Shadow Shot Sunday 2, Tracy was going to announce the link on Sunday (tomorrow in Australia, just minutes away!) - as she said in her blog!
    Shadow Shot Sunday 2 is the new venue! That will be the link you need!

    Happy Christmas!

  28. AH! So much holiday cheer here! Thanks, Anni!

  29. Lovely post, Anni! The photos are very festive and cute. The mall is a great place for wlaking when the weather is bad. Great photos, have a wonderful weekend and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  30. Great post, I have always loved that letter.

  31. Thanks again for stopping by my page :)

    I absolutely LOVE this! I remember reading this as a child. The very first time I heard it, I was in the 4th grade - Ms. Aldorisio's class.

    I live in NYC - I have to make it a point to pass by Virginia's home :)

  32. Lovely post, Annie. I'm glad for all of you in Texas that you are finally getting some rain but did you have to take ours? I guess it's only fair, we probably took yours last year when we had near record precipitation in California.

  33. Love all your festive shots!
    Those critter ones are so cute!!

  34. Gorgeous and very well captured!

    Critters Post, happy holidays!

  35. Anonymous12/18/2011

    What a brilliant letter! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  36. I always liked Virginia...


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