Yes, Kelly, There is a Santa Claus

By Billy Long

The following appeared in the Sunday News & Leader Springfield, MO Dec. 21, 1975

“Among last week’s letters to the editor was one in which Springfield teenager Kelly Brown sought the answer to the question that once troubled not only Virginia but has brought moments of doubt to so many of us at some time in our lives. Kelly wanted to know about this fellow Santa Claus. Is he “for real?” Reader Caryn Long provides the answer…”

Dear Kelly,

You asked last week if there is a Santa Claus, and in my opinion, you can rest assured there is. I understand the ridicule you are enduring from peers who are “too big” to believe in Santa Claus. 

Don’t give in, Kelly, or let them sway your beliefs because you’re much wiser and more aware of the warmth and joy Santa brings than those who deny his existence. 

You see, Kelly, I’m 23, and still believe in Santa Claus with all my heart. What’s more, he still sneaks in our house on Dec. 25 and fills my stocking. 

I can remember when I was a little girl and while my friends walked around with crowns and wands, dreaming of the day they’d be Miss America, I was aspiring to be the first child ambassador for the United States. I didn’t want to wait ‘til I grew up. At age nine I was ready to travel around spreading peace among nations and brotherhood among men. Everyone is inspired by different things, and no dream is in vain. 

Beliefs, aspirations and dreams keep us ever hopeful in days of sadness and turmoil. 
People who don’t dream or believe in things they cannot see are weak in mind and miss a beautiful part of life. 

As I was growing up, and even now, my friends laugh at my belief in Santa. Long ago I sought an honest answer as you are doing now. I couldn’t go to Mom or Dad, because they didn’t have the answer I was looking for, so I asked someone else I admired. Even though I was very young, I’ll never forget what he told me about Santa.

He said, “Caryn, Christmas time is like no other and as long as people give of themselves unselfishly, share the joy they feel inside, and show to others the love in their hearts, Santa Claus will live forever.”

With faith in things I cannot see, hope for good will among all men, and love of mankind, I believe in Santa.

Kelly, as long as little children all over the world visit bearded men in red suits and we can watch them and feel their delight… as long as we can share our inside Christmas warmth with others, and as long as we’re able to exchange smiles with people we don’t know, I’ll believe in Santa.

Tinsel and lights don’t make Christmas, only help to express delight and joy we feel as we celebrate the birth of an admirable man. Santa, too, helps personify those intangibles which make this time of year stand above all others. Is there any other time so joyous that you can see starlight in the eyes, and warmth in the hearts of young and old alike?

Santa has rekindled the spirit of hope that filled the world so many years ago with the birth of a king. You know it’s there as well as I do… something unique about the Christmas atmosphere; something you cannot touch. The spirit of Santa fills hearts everywhere with surprises to delight and happiness to share. Santa is very real, and lives in the hearts of teenagers, kids, and adults alike. 

Believe and never stop believing, for every year Santa brings certain joys and pleasures that no one else can match, and even though I don’t know you, Kelly, you confirm even stronger my belief in Santa. The fact that you seek to understand… care enough to ask… are honest in your quest and trust in something you know is there, but cannot see…proves to me you are real. 
I have great respect for you, Kelly, and believe in you, as I believe in Santa, even though I can’t see you and probably never will. 

—Caryn Long

You guessed it, Caryn is my sister and as I was trying to come up with a topic for my  “Long’s Short Report” that would publish on Christmas Day, for some reason this long-ago letter to the editor popped up in my head. Although it was authored 45 years ago, a re-reading of it seems very appropriate in 2020.  I hope you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas!

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at and my Twitter page at You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, “Long’s Short Report,” by visiting

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