For a lot of little modern-day Virginias, yes, there will be a Santa.
The layaway miracle was only one of many instances of generosity. There have been long-standing efforts like the Daily Mail's own Neediest Cases drive, the Salvation Army's Angel Tree, the local Christmas basket program and countless others.
But new ones keep cropping up.
A few years ago local dentist Bridget Stevens founded Secret Santa for seniors, an effort to provide gifts for lonely elderly people.
This year South Charleston photographer Will Price, with the sponsorship of the Preston and Salango law firm, invited special-needs children into his quiet studio for sessions with a "sensitive Santa."
Autistic kids and others with disabilities often don't do well in crowds. The gift of a high-quality version of the kind of photos all families treasure was truly an inspiration.
As Congress endlessly debates whose taxes to raise or cut, Americans are doing a pretty good job of redistributing their own wealth. We will always need a government safety net, but this is the way it should be.
I like surprises.
When I was a child, my siblings and I wrote letters to Santa, usually describing toys we had spotted in our "wish book," the Spiegel catalogue.
Beyond that, it was not the practice in our family to ask somebody what they wanted. Our parents set the example. The challenge was to figure out what each other would really like and delight them on Christmas morning.
When the inspiration hits, this can be a cinch. But often it doesn't.
You do your best, and sometimes you bomb.
One year during adolescence I was worried about my complexion. My thoughtful younger brother was sure I would love a tabletop, plug-in facial sauna. Talk about your dust catchers.
Still, imprinted at a tender age, I cling to the desire to surprise. But it is hard to pull off for my own children. Their tastes are cutting edge, and mine are not.
My daughter is an especially tough nut. If she gets the barest hint that a secret is in the works, she is on the case. I'm a lousy liar and no match for her.
This year her father and I have made it all the way to Christmas Eve without arousing her suspicion. We think.
Our family will open gifts this evening. I am daring fate to reveal this, but I believe we are going to pull off a surprise.
That makes Christmas fun. May you, too, surprise someone or be surprised yourself.
Friend is editor and publisher of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 304 348-5124 or by email at nan...@dailymail.com.