Is Santa Real?

A Cloverdale father wrestles with a delicate question when his daughter starts to have doubts about Santa Claus.

  • Tue Dec 20th, 2011 7:00am
  • Life

Santa arrives by helicopter at Riverside shopping Centre in North Surrey. The arrival was attended by large crowds of enthusiastic children

“I apologize in not replying sooner but the elves and I have been very busy making toys for all the young boys and girls.” – S. C.

By Keith Mah

When my daughter Carolyn was seven years old, she asked, “Daddy, Is Santa Claus real?  My friends say Santa’s not real.”

I said, “Of course Santa is real! How do you think those presents got under the Christmas tree?”

A year later my daughter – a wiser and more cynical 8 year old now – said, “Daddy, There is no Santa. All my friends say he doesn’t exist.”

A stronger response was clearly needed, and forewarned is forearmed; our annual Christmas party at my school, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, gave me the perfect opportunity. I took Carolyn to see Santa, and also asked her to write Santa a letter. Here is what she wrote:


December 5, 2009

To Santa,

For Christmas I want a D.S. that comes with a game of Pokemon that you can play on the D.S.

I copied this flower for you.


Carolyn, 8


December 5, 2009, ten minutes later

Dear Santa,

How are you? Daddy and Mommy are

wonderful parents. I love you and my parents! Do you remember me from last year? My Dad is Keith Mah. You gave me Enchanted Forest Stickers.

P.S. My Daddy made me write this other



A week later, Carolyn found this letter from Santa under the Christmas tree:


From Santa’s Grotto

The North Pole

Ho Ho Ho

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you for the lovely letter you gave to me. I apologize in not replying sooner but the elves and I have been very busy making toys for all the young boys and girls.

Of course I remember you from last year. You have grown considerably.

Once again, thank you for the letter. I especially enjoyed the pictures that you drew.

Have a lovely Christmas,


I also told her the most famous Santa story of all: In 1897, an 8-year-old girl who believed in Santa Claus was, nevertheless, a bit in doubt. She said to her father, “Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth.”


(1897)  The New York Sun

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?


The response:

Dear 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…

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.

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… Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.

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.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


The letter trick worked well on an 8 year old; unfortunately, I don’t think it will work this year – a 10-year-old is only a few blinks away from being a know-it-all teenager.

When she asks about Santa this year, what am I going to say? I don’t know. I’ll just have to pile lots of presents under the Christmas tree and be sure to give her a big hug.

– Keith Mah is an instructor at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Cloverdale.