Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Since its publication in a New York newspaper in 1897, an editor’s affirmative response to an 8 year old girl’s letter asking if Santa was real has become one of the most famous editorials in history. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” This week’s film imagines the origins of that famous answer.

As Christmas approaches, newspaper writer Francis Church (Charles Bronson) struggles with depression as he grieves the loss of his wife. Although his writing talents are praised by his coworkers, he now feels too empty and uninspired to write much.

Meanwhile, young Virginia O’Hanlon is being teased at school for believing in Santa. When her father loses his job, the strain it causes the family is obvious, and Virginia wonders if the kids at school are right.

Of course, the two characters’ struggles are fated to collide when Virginia sends a letter to her father’s favorite newspaper…

Drawing all its inspiration from the classic editorial, Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus reminds us that Santa’s existence runs deeper than simple childhood stories, embodying the heart of the Christmas spirit.

Strangely, the film’s rating is sometimes listed as PG, and sometimes PG-13, so perhaps it lies right on the border between the two. It does include some minor violence, as well as a character suffering from depression and alcoholism, drama which may be over the heads of very young viewers. See the parents guide for more information.

Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Rated PG-13
IMDb Parents Guide
Is it streaming?
Watch on YouTube (free with ads)

For younger viewers, the editorial’s origins were imagined again in a simpler, shorter animated TV special Yes, Virginia, which focuses on Virginia researching Santa Claus on her own before deciding to write to the newspaper, where a grumpy editor initially rejects the idea of responding.

Runtime: 22 minutes
Rated G (TV-Y)
Is it streaming?