Is Santa Real?
Based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, we believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.
Santa Claus is known by many names, including Saint Nick. Historians claim that the history of Santa starts with the tradition of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian priest who lived in the Middle East in an area of present-day Turkey who became famous for his kindness. He was known for giving gifts to the less fortunate, sprinkling gifts of gold down people's chimneys or hiding surprises in their stockings.
It may be that the Santa we know today emerged from the legacy of Saint Nicholas. Clearly, Santa's basic approach to gift giving is strikingly similar. Could they be the same person? Only Santa Claus knows for sure.
Long before the Wright brothers flew the first airplane or the Montgolfier brothers launched the first hot air balloon, Santa had to find a way to travel from house to house at great speed. We know from our Santa Cam images that Santa’s choice for quick transportation was a herd of flying reindeer. Detailed information on these reindeer remains elusive; we do know, however, that Santa enlisted the reindeer to help him with his worldwide mission of gift-giving. A veil of sweet mystery hides the rest.
Virginia’s letter, written in December 1897, is the most famous example of a child wanting to know about Santa. See the companion article "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" for more information about Virgina's letter, the New York Sun's editorial reply, and its significance on the holiday season.
New York Sun Editorial
Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except that which 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 countless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
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.
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to have men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you 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 that 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 the strongest men, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love and romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus!?
Thank God! He lives and lives forever.