After going to a department store the other day and seeing the Christmas displays and merchandise out a week before Halloween, I thought about a little girl named Virginia who wrote a letter so long ago inquiring about the existence of Santa Claus. I wonder if she were to ask again today, in 2012, if the answer would be something like this:

Virginia, you asked if there was still a Santa Claus. If you are referring to the jolly old elf in the furry red suit and white beard, the one with a twinkle in his eye and a tiny sleigh with eight reindeer, then I would have to say the answer is NO. You see, Virginia, that Santa has been banned by some adults. They say that he and the very idea of him are offensive. He is not allowed in schools or government buildings or even to stand on government property. The only Santa you will find today, Virginia, is in the mall or the department stores or in catalogues. Anywhere he can promote the greed of big business. The Santa of yesterday that somehow magically flew around the world in one night, delivering smiles to millions of children and filling their heads with visions of sugarplums is gone. Today Santa flies in a corporate jet and fills the wallets and bank accounts of retailers. People call this progress, but is it really, or is it just how far we have fallen from the true meaning of what was once a magical time of year?

So,Virginia, when your little friends say that Santa isn't real, you can nod in agreement and then show them your new doll and say, "a man in a red suit at the mall marked this down so my parents could buy it for me.