"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
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 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.
But there is one thing about him that is the same everywhere so this must be the truest part: he is a gift-giver. He gives from his heart with love, joy and delight. When we do the same, we are part of the spirit of Christmas.
Whatever name you give it, that spirit is real. As real as the gifts under our tree – whenever they appear. As real as my love for you.
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Hear Louis Armstrong read Clement Moore's "Night Before Christmas" as part of a holiday Feast of Songs for the Season from Riverwalk Jazz. (Registration is free)
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Above: "Merry Old Santa Claus," by Thomas Nast, Harper's Weekly, January 1, 1881. (Via the St Nicholas Center)