Most kids give up on the idea that Santa is real once someone ruins it for them. I never did. I claim every year that I actually hear bells outside my windows and reindeer on the roof, and, to my surprise, I actually do.
I’ve known my neighbor Tim my whole life. He is like my closest uncle, and he was always at my school plays and all my soccer and basketball games. Little did I know that he was also Santa.
When I was young I would wait up for Santa, like any eager kid, on Christmas Eve. I would try to stay up all night to see him and, of course, fall asleep. That night I would be woken by the sound of bells outside my window and reindeer on the roof. My brother, who is two years younger than I am, would tell me every year there is no such thing as Santa, that I just made him up. I insisted he was wrong and that I heard Santa and his reindeer.
I would receive letters in the mail from Santa before Christmas Day, asking me to leave carrots outside for Rudolf and Dasher. My parents insisted it wasn’t their doing, but my brother argued that our parents were Santa.
One Christmas Eve night about four years ago, we got a knock on our door. I answered it and there stood Santa in a huge red jacket, hat and beard. Underneath the costume stood Tim with a Christmas card reminding us to leave out the carrots. He told us that this year he might as well deliver it in person.
I had heard the bells, the reindeer, and the ho ho ho’s outside. Tim had been Santa for us our whole lives. Every Christmas at midnight, he would stand in our alley with a full costume and bells and a pile of rocks. He would throw the rocks onto my bedroom roof, to simulate reindeer. He hoped that one time we might peek out our windows and get a glimpse of Santa, but I didn’t need to see him to believe in him.
Still, every Christmas, Santa pays a visit to our house around midnight, and I sit up in my bed and listen to the reindeer and the ringing of the Christmas bells. I believe in Santa.
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