"My mom, the only thing she ever wants for Christmas...is that I sit on Santa's lap," McKenzie Doig of Syracuse, New York, told ABC News. "In high school it was really embarrassing, but now I think it's really funny."
Doig, a senior at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, said she first began visiting Santa when she was 3 years old at ShoppingTown Mall in Syracuse. The tradition has continued for almost two decades.
But when Doig was 14, her Santa left ShoppingTown Mall. She and her mom tracked him down at the nearby Destiny USA shopping center, formerly known as Carousel Mall.
"We luckily ended up finding him by one of the photographers there," Doig, 21, said. "He gave us his phone number so we could contact him once a year."
Doig said she has fond memories of her mother taking her shopping for a new Christmas outfit and booking a special hair appointment, in addition to seeing her old friend Santa Claus.
And while she discovered Mr. Kringle's true identity in middle school, Doig said she'll never reveal his secret.
"I do know his real name, but I didn't want to say anything on TV because I still want kids to think he's the real Santa," she said. "I still write Santa letters and my friends always make fun of me. He knows a lot about me. We've had this connection and as I grew up he's kind of followed my life."
Doig said she promised her mother she'd continue her Santa Claus tradition for as long as she can.
"It'll be kind of cool if he's still alive and I had kids and we all started going together," she said.