Andrew Dys

Believe? Rock Hill mall has Santa because kids know he is real

Nine-year-old Elizabeth Wiley sits on Santa Claus’ lap at the Rock Hill Galleria.
Nine-year-old Elizabeth Wiley sits on Santa Claus’ lap at the Rock Hill Galleria.

There is no controversy for kids. They know Santa Claus is real.

They know, because they believe.

“Parents can’t go all the way to the North Pole and get the presents!” said Sterling Bell, 11, of Rock Hill at the Rock Hill Galleria, where she sat on Santa’s lap.

Her brother, Garrett, obviously wise beyond his 9 years, added, “Parents can’t go to China like Santa can!”

Both said as one that Santa is real “because he’s magical.”

At the Rock Hill mall – unlike a few weeks ago at Charlotte’s South Park mall, where a glacier replaced a Christmas tree at Santa’s hangout for a day or two before a public uproar brought the tree back – there was never any doubt where Santa belongs.

“We always have Santa,” said Galleria marketing director Angel Russell.

In Rock Hill and York County, Santa is not a dream. Santa is real. He is sitting right there. Kids will not allow any controversy.

Not like those who claim that some conspiracy of coffee cups or other nonsense is taking the Christmas spirit out of the holidays. Kids know better. Kids know Santa is real for all kids of all religions of all countries.

Kids don’t let adults ruin Christmas.

“It’s tradition and kids love him,” said 10-year-old E.J. Erby. “He brings us presents. Every kid likes that. I sure do.”

Rock Hill’s Santa Dave Jordan has stood in for Santa as far away as the Middle East, during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He handles ChristmasVille for Santa every year in Rock Hill.

He has been Santa for so long to so many, his whole persona is Santa.

“Always believe,” is Santa Dave’s motto.

Jordan has sat in for Santa at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and around America and in foreign countries and right here – and he has had in his lap kids from all over the world.

They all promise they have been good. They all ask for presents.

“Every kid I have ever met,” Santa Dave said, “and I have seen them from every religion there is, so many cultures – they all know Santa.”

Back at the Rock Hill Galleria, 9-year-old Elizabeth Wiley of Rock Hill waited with her dad, Jeremy, and stepmom, Jessica, to see Santa.

When Elizabeth got up on Santa’s lap, she laid out her list. The elves snapped pictures to sell to the parents to keep forever. Nothing could be more real.

Elizabeth asked for clothes and jewelry and a new Nerf crossbow gun and more.

She left with a huge smile.

When Elizabeth and her parents were asked if Santa was real, all three at the same time said, “Yes!”

“It’s hard to think Santa is not real when he is right here and you take pictures with him,” Elizabeth said. “His beard is real. I saw it up close.”

Santa Charlie laughed his Santa laugh at the Galleria, and there was no doubt that he was real.

The kids all thanked him and they believed.

They believe in Christmas.

They believe in Santa.

They know best.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065

Want to see Santa?

Santa Claus keeps regular hours at the Rock Hill Galleria, so every child who wants to sit on his lap will get the chance:

This week

Today: Noon-6 p.m.

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Dec. 6-10

Dec. 6: Noon-7 p.m.

Dec. 7-10: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Dec. 11-19

Dec. 11-12: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 13: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Dec. 14-19: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 20-24

Dec. 20: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Dec. 21: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 22-23: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 24: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.