How old were you when you learned the “truth” about Santa?

Well, let’s back up a little bit. Let me start out by saying, first and foremost, that Santa is 100% real. I’m 30 years old now, and I know how he gets his helping hands, but Santa is real, period. 

And in the Rickert household, we do whatever it takes to prove it.

It was Christmas in the year 2000, and for my sister and I, a Razor scooter was at the top of our lists. We were done being the only kids in the cul-de-sac left out while our neighbors zoomed around on their grand metal chariots with translucent wheels.

Now granted, we were seven and eight years old at the time, and the devastation on the day in question was entirely self-inflicted. We had a penchant for going on quests to find our Christmas presents, and our mother had a profound lack of talent when it came to hiding them.

So one day, when we opened a door to a closet housing our air conditioner, we found two brand new Razor scooters in the box. Phenomenal. But with a few days left to go before Christmas, the writing on pre-filled gift tags next to the scooters was…well, problematic.


Thus followed the Grand Christmas Inquisition of 2000 as my poor mother was held to answer for her crimes: two counts of “lying to her children about Santa Claus.”

The jig was up. The magic was gone. The word was out. But to my mom’s credit, she still had one play to make. In tears, she called my dad, desperately trying to get “one more year” of the magic she so loved to watch on Christmas morning.

Her instructions were clear: get to Toys-R-Us (R.I.P.) on the way home and buy two different scooters. These replacement scooters weren’t your run-of-the-mill Razors, though. Equipped with front shocks, blinking tail lights and a wheelie bar, these were the Ferraris of manually-powered child transportation. I’m talking about the JD Razor 2000s, and yes, I still remember that name.

On Christmas morning, our jaws hit the floor as we opened not one, but TWO scooters each. The explanation was simple: with so many children in the world, Santa only has time for one gift per kid, and mom and dad help with the rest. With no communication between my parents and the jolly old elf, there was always a danger of double-gifting if they didn’t correctly predict his choice.

We were convinced. 

Growing up in a house with very practical and frugal parents, we knew that only Santa would splurge for upgraded features on something – probably not exactly what my parents wanted to hear at the time, but hey, it worked in their favor this time. True to form, we were informed that we could only keep one scooter, and the other would be returned for college savings – quite the dilemma for a kid with an overactive conscience when keeping the scooter you really wanted meant dissing your parents’ gift.

Now that my sister and I better understand the inner workings of Santa’s workshop, our entire family laughs about this Christmas to this day. Though it was still a ridiculous last-ditch effort – followed closely by the time my mom literally hired our neighbors to walk around on the roof and ring bells on Christmas Eve – there’s something to be said for my parents preserving the wonder for one more year for their little second- and third-graders. I think it goes without saying that there’s not quite enough mystery in today’s world.

So although I have the utmost respect for how every family chooses to handle holiday traditions like Santa, cheers to the ones out there who do whatever it takes to preserve the magic – even if it means going all-out for one more year.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.