I love Christmastime, I always have.

It probably stems from the time I got a handwritten note from Santa Claus himself, telling me he had run out of tricycles before he got to my little house in Oklahoma City, but if I was good a little bit longer, he’d make a special trip and bring me one for my birthday.

He did. It was turquoise green with streamers on the handles and a bell on the handlebars. I was sold on Santa, so much so that the next year, when he visited our house a few days before Christmas, I wanted to go outside and see Rudolph.

It really had to be tough for the Jolly Old Elf to convince a four-year-old that whatever side of the house I said I would go and look, they would always be on the other side. This still puzzles me. I never thought of reindeers as shy.

It was the next year, however, that confirmed my belief in Santa, The North Pole, The Sleigh, The Reindeer, all of it.

My mother’s dad was there. I loved my Daddy Bill. He always had a silver dollar for me and a stick of Wrigley’s Doublemint gum. He knew cool songs and would hold me in his lap as long as I cared to sit there.

The year he was there, I slept on a pallet in the floor of my parent’s room while he was visiting during the holidays.

That Christmas Eve, I woke up when the rest of the house was asleep. I was just lying there when I heard them.

Jingle bells. Unmistakably, jingle bells.

To this day I will swear I heard them going down my street. Santa had come and gone and I had awakened just in time to hear the jingly bells of Santa’s sleigh as it left.

I don’t even remember what I got that year. It didn’t matter.

It still doesn’t. Santa will come see me in his own time, as I hope he will come see you and yours.

Merry Christmas to all of you, from one of Santa’s true believers.

I hope you hear jingle bells.