Xmas links below: After Poems
Hear Lou Diamond Philips read The Polar Express.
Reading Log- Polar Express- pdf file
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A Guide to Using the Polar Express
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Presents for parents:
Reindeer fly on high,
o'er the window sills,
elves are very busy
and filling up the sleigh.
He's up and on his way!
By Linda A. Copp © December 1, 1960
Tried to receive written permission for the two above poems, but the e-mail is no longer on the server given. Credit goes to this web site: sunniebunniezz.com
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Major Henry Livingston Jr. (1748-1828)
(previously believed to be by Clement Clarke Moore)
A Christmas Gift for Santa
We all hung up our stockings,
and we left you a nice snack.
By now, I guess, dear Santa,
you have filled your heavy pack.
Your reindeer must be ready
to take you for a ride.
Do you have both your mittens?
It's so very cold outside.
Be careful, please, dear Santa,
on the rooftops where you go.
They're slanty and they're slippery
with a crust of ice and snow.
I guess I should be tired,
but I cannot fall asleep.
Tonight I'll count some reindeer,
instead of counting sheep.
I think you are the nicest man
to do the things you do.
Merry Christmas, Santa dear,
and a happy New Year, too!
Late December, through the snowing
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897
Editor: Francis Pharcellus Church
Dear Editor-I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, If you see it in The Sun, it's so.» Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except 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 boundless 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 external 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 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, 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.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Yes, Virginia, It's a Special Occasion
By Rick Horowitz
I want to talk about even bigger anniversary, the 100th anniversary of arguably the most famous editorial ever to appear in a newspaper in this country.
It happened in New York City, where a century ago a Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, coroner's assistant, came face-to-face with a minor family crisis. In 1897, O'Hanlon's daughter - his only child - came to him in some confusion. She'd been talking to her friends, and what she heard from those friends worried her. Could her father help her out?
He did what any father would do under the circumstances: He passed the buck. He suggested she write a letter to the newspaper instead - to The Sun. They'd have an answer she could rely on, he told her.
If you see it in The Sun,» he liked to say, it's so.» So that's what she did: Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon - yes, Virginia O'Hanlon - sent her letter off to the newspaper.
Now, working at The Sun at that time was a man named Francis Pharcellus Church. He'd been a Civil War correspondent for The New York Times, editor of The Army and Navy Journal, editor of Galaxy literary magazine. He'd been with The Sun for 20 years, and in 1897, he was: an editorial writer.
When Church's boss gave him O'Hanlon's letter, Church was not a happy man. He bristled,» the boss later reported. He pooh-poohed.» And I can't really blame him; editorial writers have better things to do with their time - or so I'm told - than responding to letters from eight-year-olds.
But he did it anyway.
It was no big deal. In fact, the day it ran, it was the seventh editorial on the page - after editorials on state and local and regional politics, on British naval strength in the Atlantic, on plans for a Canadian railroad to help bring back gold from the Yukon. Even after an editorial on a newfangled chainless» bicycle.
But the editorial ran. It ran on September 21, 1897, exactly 100 years ago tomorrow.
And its title was Virginia's very own question: Is There a Santa Claus?»
You may have seen it once or twice...
It's not just the most famous, but the most beloved editorial of all -beloved by readers, and especially beloved by editors. After all, they don't have to write another Christmas piece of their own every year - they can just slap Francis Church and Yes, Virginia» up there and go directly to the office party.
Now, as we mark this special occasion, I ask you not to grieve too much for a time when newspapers had the space - and the staff - to run seven editorials a day. For a time where people still believed, If you see it in the paper, it's so.»
And put aside for a moment the perfectly reasonable question, What's a Christmas editorial doing running in the middle of September?»
Instead, I ask you to join me in celebrating Virginia O'Hanlon, who wrote the letter, and Francis Church, who provided, not just the answer, but a valuable lesson for all of us in this business.
And that lesson is: You never know. You never know which of your efforts will grab people, and which of your words might be headed for immortality.
So, a toast to opinions that last: Yes, Virginia - and Yes, Francis Pharcellus Church - Happy 100th Anniversary!
(Background Information) Copyright 1997 Rick Horowitz All Rights Reserved
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