In Russia, he was called ded maroz which means grandfather frost, the russian equivalent of Santa Claus, but as soon as we came to America, we called him both. In Russia, people celebrated New Years day like Christmas so even if you are not Christian, you still have a holiday you celebrate like Christmas.

I believed that Santa Claus existed until I was 7 or 8. I was bored and started to rummage through my grandmother's closet and found a doll. My present, I thought.

Our apartment when we first moved to America was very small and there wasn't many places to hide presents. I ran up to my sister, thrusting the box with the beautiful baby doll in it. "Is this for me?" I asked. My sister looked at me wide-eyed. I still remember the look on her face, complete shock. "It-It's not for you," she stuttered. "Yes it is," I said. "No, no we were going to give it to another girl," she said.

I decided that I still wanted to be a baby for a few more years and pretended that I believed her. "But we could get you a doll like this if you want," she said. "Okay," I replied.

From then on and until about 6th grade I pretended until my sister told me. I told her that I knew and I think she knew that I knew. Now I am convinced that he was made by the Coca Cola Company.

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