From chance encounters down at the shops to thrilling last-minute home visits, these amazing experiences from Reader’s Digest readers will make you believe in the spirit of Christmas.

Remember me?

Last year, when our three-year old great-granddaughter Kylie was taken to see Santa Claus, she made sure to give him her wish list of toys. A week later, she ran into a different Santa in a mall. He stopped to ask what she wanted for Christmas.

Kylie was appalled and let him know: “If you can’t remember what I told you last week, how are you going to remember on Christmas Eve?!” – Mary Paul

When Santa knocks

One Christmas eve, there was a knock on our door. It was Santa – red suit, white beard, and all! My parents invited him in, and he proceeded to pose for photos with us and eat our cookies. After a while, he wished us all a merry Christmas and left.

Once the door closed behind him, we all looked at one another and asked, “Who ordered the Santa?”

To this day, we have no idea who that man was. – Kathy Brody

Making spirits bright

Years ago, drowning in too many responsibilities, I found myself devoid of any Christmas spirit. One day, I stopped at a red light. As I sorted through my long list of onerous tasks, a beat-up sedan pulled up next to me. Behind the wheel was Santa Claus belting out Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” The man did not have a care in the world.

Realising he had an audience, he turned, looked me straight in the eye, and shouted, “Merry Christmas!”

As he drove off, his enthusiasm lifted my spirits and officially kicked off my holiday season. – Thomas Warrner

The real deal

As my son Mike and I drove to the mall, we passed a Salvation Army Santa ringing his bell. “Mike,” I said, “there’s Santa!”

He shook his head. “That’s just some guy in a Santa suit,” he said. It saddened me to think that maybe my son no longer believed in Santa, and we drove the rest of the way in silence.

At the mall, we spotted another Santa greeting young believers. Suddenly, Mike took off toward him.

Turning back to me, he shouted, “Now, there’s the real Santa!” – Michael E. Fahey

Bathroom Santa

A friend asked me to dress as Santa to surprise her son. I went over to their house, changed into a Santa suit in the bathroom, and, to the delight of the little boy, came out with a loud “Ho, ho, ho!”

After a half hour, I returned to the bathroom, changed back into my regular clothes, and exited the bathroom.

The boy went in after me. He looked around for Santa.

Then, reaching the only possible conclusion, he lifted the toilet seat and shouted, “Bye, Santa!” – Kevin Cuddihy

Always be prepared

My sister-in-law had driven her five-year-old son Josh to the mall with the purpose of visiting Santa and telling him what he wanted for Christmas.

After parking the car, they got as far as the entrance when Josh stopped, threw out his hands to block their path, and announced, “Wait! I forgot the toy catalogue!” – Laurel Holt


Santa appears in many different guises

It had been a rough year: a single father with two young daughters, I was out of work and out of money. With little choice, I told the girls, “It looks like our gift from Santa will be the gift of our love for each other.”

Then a miracle occurred. I won $1,000 in a contest.

I kept it a secret as I went on a shopping spree and spent Christmas Eve wrapping presents for my girls, all the time thinking, Boy, will they be surprised!

The next morning, I went to the living room to lay out the gifts and froze. There were already dozens of presents under the Christmas tree – all with my name on them.

My girls had felt bad that Dad wouldn’t be getting any gifts, so they’d carefully wrapped their favourite stuffed animals and other toys so that I would have a merry Christmas.

As I stared at the gifts through tear-filled eyes, I promised myself to never again doubt Santa Claus. – Andrew Shecktor

Quick, Daddy, you'll miss him!

On Christmas Eve, my husband went next door to retrieve a gift for our son and daughter. I had just slipped into bed when I heard him return. Our three-year-old son also heard him, and soon he was in my bed clinging to me, nervously excited that Santa was in the house.

We waited in silence for a few minutes, until he whispered, “Too bad Daddy can’t be here.” – Connie Chamberlain

Santa's last visit

When Santa came to the nursing home where I worked, the first patient he visited was Margaret. She was confined to her bed but was thrilled when he roared “Ho, ho, ho” in her doorway.

“Santa!” she said softly.

“Merry Christmas, Margaret. What do you want for Christmas, little girl?”

“I want a kiss from you, Santa,” she said with a grin. Santa gently took Margaret’s hand, bent down, and kissed her. He then added quietly, “God bless you, Margaret.”

“God bless you, too, Santa,” she whispered back.

Santa went on to visit every bedridden patient in the home. Afterward, he asked his nurse escort whether he could say goodbye to Margaret.

Struggling to find the right words, she told him that Margaret had died soon after he’d left her room. She said that in her final moments, Margaret had spoken of being blessed by Santa.

Santa thanked the nurse for telling him and then quickly left the floor. After all, nobody would want to see Santa Claus cry. – Stephen Rusiniak

Do I know you?

My six-year-old granddaughter attended a Christmas party where Santa was the honoured guest. When it was her turn to sit on his lap, Santa asked her name.

“Shelbi,” she whispered.

“Can you repeat that?” asked Santa.

Annoyed, Shelbi said loudly, “Oh, you know me, Larry. You’re my bus driver.” – Ellen Seedall

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Reader’s Digest Magazine delayed due to coronavirus
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in Malaysia and the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in these regions. We hope to have the issues available around 15 April in Malaysia and around 24 April in the Philippines, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience.
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– The Reader’s Digest team