I was quite young when I started to doubt the Santa thing - a mixture of the kids at school and common sense got me to thinking on it. Now that I'm older, I know that Santa MUST be real, because I never got toys other than at Christmas and from others on my birthday - my mom never
bought them for us. Why would she have done so just for the holiday?
We didn't have a lot of money when we were growing up, but Christmas was our period of "restocking" our toy supply, since we honestly didn't get anything very nice any other time of year. Each of the three of us still at home picked out a major piece of furniture in the living room (the couch, the loveseat, or the recliner), and lo and behold, when we would get up on Christmas morning, "our" section would be covered in gifts. It didn't matter who got the couch, because the loveseat and recliner spilled gifts into the floor surrounding them, too. No one got less than anyone else, and we all got a lot (thank you, Wal-Mart layaway!!!).
That's how I got my first t.v. and VCR, every bike I ever owned, most of my dolls (I collected them as a child), and lots of other goodies.
Santa never wrapped gifts - he didn't have time. Mom wrapped her gifts to us, though, although it was just as likely to be with newspaper as with wrapping paper.
The other cool thing about our Christmas - Cinderella, Mother Goose, Humpty Dumpty, Snow White, the Evil Stepmother - all were as real to us as Santa. They have all, at some point in my life, left a wrapped gift for me on the porch in the weeks before either my birthday or Christmas, not to be opened until the big day.
I never could figure out how they managed to get those presents there without me seeing them. They brought me a lot of joy growing up and made me feel very special.
That is DEFINITELY a tradition I want to pass on to my kids.