By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
As the countdown to Christmas continues, our schedules can become quite packed — our to-do list
growing longer while both time and patience grow short. With that in mind, I thought this week would
be the perfect opportunity to revisit a column I wrote in 2015 about the spirit of Christmas.
In 1897, 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father if Santa Claus was real. I’m sure this is a question many parents face with some apprehension. Virginia's father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, suggested she pose the question as a letter to the editor in New York City newspaper, The Sun, a prominent newspaper at the time.
One of the paper’s editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, wrote what has become one of the most famous
editorials in history. Yes, he assured Virginia, Santa Claus is real.
Since then, newspapers across the country have carried on the tradition of maintaining the relationship
between their youngest readers and the jolly man himself. This newspaper is no exception. We gladly
print letters written to Santa each year knowing with certainty that he’ll see them. He’s got a lifetime
subscription, after all.
“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,” Church wrote to young Virginia.
And with those two simple sentences are revealed something else that remains true to this day: Not
only is Santa real, but the spirit of Christmas is very real, as well.
So what is the spirit of Christmas? Church touches on the definition with his mention of love, generosity
and devotion, but there’s more to it than that.
The spirit of Christmas exists in all of us when we think of others before ourselves. It exists when we
hold a door open for somebody else, or help our parents by doing our chores. It exists when we share a
meal with an old friend, or even a friend newly met who may not have as much food to eat.
The spirit of Christmas exists in kindness extended to strangers; it exists in love shared among families. It
exists in laughter and in opening presents on Christmas morning. And the best part is there’s a never-
ending supply of the spirit of Christmas. Like love, the more you share, the more it grows and gets
stronger and reaches more people.
In a fast-paced world filled with game consoles, apps and dozens upon dozens of TV channels, we can
sometimes forget to take the time to appreciate those smaller moments of perfection where the spirit
of Christmas dwells. So, this Christmas, pause and enjoy the holiday, for we are all rich in the spirit of
From everyone here at the Port Isabel-South Padre Press and the South Padre Parade, Merry Christmas!
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