“Is There A Santa Claus?” was published 21 September 1897, more than three months before the Christmas holiday. It was placed in the third of three columns of editorials that day, subordinate to seven other commentaries on such matters as “British Ships in American Waters,” ambiguity in Connecticut’s election law, and features of the chainless bicycle anticipated in 1898.  Although it was published at a time when newspaper editors routinely commented on–and often disparaged–the work of their rivals, the oddly timed editorial drew no comment from the Sun’s bitter rivals in New York. For its part, the Sun mostly ignored the editorial for the next ten years. —W. Joseph Campbell —The grudging emergence of American journalism’s classic editorial: New details about ”Is There A Santa Claus?” (American University)
Ah… nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit like a meticulously researched article (over 80 footnotes!) documenting the origin of this famous “Yes, Virginia” editorial.
Update, Dec 2020: