Moral of this story: Don’t let your kids watch the nightly news if you want to preserve their wide-eyed wonder about Santa Claus (or their innocence, in general … the news is rough stuff! I feel older and more cynical by the day!).

In a segment about children’s gift expectations on Fox Chicago earlier this week, news anchor Robin Robinson flat-out said, “There is no Santa.” (The denial comes at about 3:06). Parents were pretty upset — so upset, in fact, that Robinson later apologized. The Huffington Post reports:

Robinson apologized to her audience Wednesday during “The Talker,” an op/ed segment of the 9 p.m. newscast that regularly shares reader reactions from social media platforms.

“It was careless and callous to say…what I said, in what could’ve been mixed company,” Robinson said. “So many kids don’t get to be children, that for those who do get to live the wonder and magic of Christmas, I would never spoil it intentionally. So I sincerely apologize. We have certainly heard how you feel about my mistake, and since The Talker is about opinions: here we go.”

In the segment, titled simply “An Apology,” Robinson read Facebook comments slamming her slip-up, and went out to Michigan Avenue to confess to viewers and get reactions, which were overwhelmingly critical.

Gotta give Robinson props for quickly apologizing — and for doing it in an equally public fashion, even hitting the streets to say sorry. But the best move she made was to cite news editor Francis P. Church, whose famous editorial “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” remains one of the best apologetics for Santa ever written. The letter quickly became the most reprinted newspaper editorial of all time — so surely one more reprinting won’t hurt:

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 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 hire 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.

Happy believing!

Shopping Mall Santas Scaling Back Kids’ Expectations, Profiling Parents: MyFoxCHICAGO.com