The big story this Christmas was, as usual, about Donald Trump. Not that the market crashed, the one he used to brag about (he takes credit when it goes up, blames someone else when it goes down); not that he fired another cabinet member or two or three; not that he attacked another ally. But that he asked a 7-year-old child on a public broadcast whether she still believes in Santa and indicated that at her age, belief in Santa is “marginal.” The video of this conversation went viral on Twitter.

The little girl reached him by calling NORAD ; she is Collman Lloyd in Lexington, South Carolina.

She contacted the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has tracked Santa’s whereabouts for 63 years. A scientist answered the phone and asked Lloyd if she would like to speak with President Donald Trump. She was put on hold for six minutes and then he picked up the phone.

Here is the Donald in conversation with little Collman.


Presidential historian Michael Beschloss tweeted something he discovered in the papers of President John F. Kennedy. A little girl wrote to ask him whether Santa and the North Pole might be endangered by nuclear testing, and he answered her (given that the signature was printed, probably someone answered for him):

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The classic response to the question about whether there really is a Santa Claus was printed in the New York Sun in 1897. Wikipedia tells the full story here.

It begins: “In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a coroner’s assistant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia O’Hanlon (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. O’Hanlon suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”[3] In so doing, Dr. O’Hanlon had unwittingly given one of the paper’s editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question and address the philosophical issues behind it.” The full text of the editorial appears on the Wikipedia page, along with Virginia’s letter.



When Collman spoke to the President of the United States, she didn’t know what “marginal” meant.

According to the local paper, she still believes in Santa Claus.

Lloyd had never heard that word before, “marginal.”

“Yes, sir,” she said.

She didn’t know it, but his comment about her age being marginal — and her response — would spark national news stories that night and the following morning.

Lloyd never did learn Santa’s whereabouts, but she was glad to be able to talk with her nation’s leader.

“I was like, ‘wow.’ I was shocked,” she said. “It wasn’t really (nerve-wracking), I just had to think of what the truth was.”

After the president hung up the phone, Lloyd sat in her kitchen with her parents, her 10-year-old sister, her 5-year-old brother and a friend. She wondered about Trump’s family, and what his Christmas Eve plans were.

If she ever had the chance to talk to the president again, Lloyd said, she’d ask him about his family.

“Most people know this question. I would like to ask if he has any kids,” she said. “I’ve honestly never heard of them or seen any of them so I was wondering.”

That night, Lloyd and her siblings left iced sugar cookies and chocolate milk out for Santa. The next morning, they were gone, and under the tree was a wrapped gift with Lloyd’s name on it: a brand new American Girl doll.

Santa is real after all, Lloyd said.

She doesn’t know that the president has children. She has led a happily sheltered life. That’s okay. After all, she is only 7. Let’s hope she doesn’t call Trump to ask about the Tooth Fairy.