Category Archives: Holidays

Playing Ketchup #32 – In With the Old & New

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know in 57 words or less, your new or old Holiday Traditions. Ketchup With Us

I shamefully admit that with the holiday rush right after a late Thanksgiving, my work schedule as the semester wore down, 3 WORK holiday parties in a week (2 of which I hosted), I didn’t have much spirit. Some things remain a tradition, such as looking up the Yes, Virginia

article (which I posted before)… one of my favorite works of all time.

Something new – first I managed to get a shout on on PIX11 news at 6 am for my Christmas tradition tweet – “Being around family, mainly the ones who couldn’t make it to Thanksgiving.”

Also, I managed to snap a picture of Gussie, who was a sport about it, probably hoping to get on Santa’s Nice list last minute.


gussietree

Getting Max into a photo might prove to be a Christmas Miracle!

Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good night!

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Filed under Holidays, Ketchup With Us, Uncategorized, Writing

Yes Virginia…

I know that most of you like “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or even the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special”. Some of you may have been lucky enough to see The Christmas Show at Rockerfeller Center (I have; it is that awesome).

I enjoy all of those as well, but the following is my true way of  getting into the holiday spirit. It’s also my favorite written work, ever. EVER. EVER! It inspires my style, the power and emotion in each word are evident, and it reminds me that though some things are timeless, we should cherish them as though they are not.

Enjoy !

_________________

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

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except 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 external 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 you 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 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, 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 lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

——————————————————————————–

About the Exchange

Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was an immediate sensation, and went on to became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.”

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

” ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’” I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ ”

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, “Endeavour to clear your mind of cant.” When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

__________

Hoping you all have a good day with your loved ones. Sometimes their presence is the best gift of all.

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Filed under Culture, Holidays, Life

Ketchup With Us #8 – Holidaze

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to share your holiday traditions with them. Tell about one of your family’s holiday traditions. (NOTE: I didn’t say you had to LIKE the tradition.) Ketchup With Us

There are so many facets as to what makes a holiday gathering with my family, and all of the things listed below are happening at the same time, which make it one big ball of tradition.

  • Regardless of the main course, baked ziti must be available.
  • Kids are disciplined using full (including confirmation) names.
  • We discovered coquito shuts my uncle up… for a while.
  • Adults no longer exchange presents; they’re too awful to regift.
  • My Hess trucks are displayed. Batteries are hidden away- sorry kids!
  • I feel truly thankful… it’s once a year!

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Ketchup With Us, Life, Lists