andquot;Yes, Virginiaandquot; is perhaps the most famous newspaper editorial of all time: It was written by an editor who received a letter from a young reader asking if Santa really exists. andquot;Yes, Virginia,andquot; the editor wrote back, andquot;there is a Santa Claus. He exists 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!andquot;

It is in our children's eyes that many adults caught up in the mad holiday rush remember that love and generosity truly do exist. And often it is through our children that we remember that the simple, most basic things in life truly matter most: sunshine, a pet's appreciative lap of the face, the time spent with those we love most.

In that spirit, The Daily Triplicate once again this year will print local children's letters to Santa. For those parents and grandmas and grandpas out there with preschoolers, we think the letters are a great way to spend some time together. Let your youngster know that the paper will make sure Santa gets wish lists from all the children of Del Norte County, just in time for Christmas. Then sit down and help them write the letter. It's a great way to teach the alphabet and for early elementary students a chance to practice handwriting. Most importantly, it's a great way to spend some quality time together.

You can email the letters to or send them via postal mail to: Santa Claus, The Daily Triplicate, P.O. Box 277, Crescent City, Calif. 95531-0277. We must receive the letter by 5 p.m. Dec. 15 to ensure publication. All letters will appear in a special section printed with Dec. 23's regular edition.

A couple of weeks ago, First 5 Del Norte Commission Chairman David Finigan wrote on these pages an op-ed about the need for parents to spend time with children. He's absolutely right. To build a child's self-confidence and social skills, interaction with the ones they love is vital. Talking about what a child wishes for is one way to better understand and guide their behavior.

All too often we find ourselves overwhelmed with work, household chores and a dozen other distractions during the holidays. We certainly won't deny the importance of paying the bills or making dinner. But neither should any of us deny the importance of showing love, generosity and devotion to our children.