Kit Steinkellner
December 23, 2015 1:35 pm

If you are a human adult, you probably think Santa isn’t real and Christmas magic doesn’t exist outside of Claymation specials. But what if you’re wrong, what if you’re wrong? What if Santa IS real? Or, okay, not SANTA-Santa, but a dude who bears the eeriest resemblance to Jolly Old St. Nick in every way that counts?

Meet Tom Bethke, a white-bearded gentleman with a red suit at the ready who lives in Minnesota (3,000 miles away from the North Pole, true, but about as close as you can get while still living in the United States) who runs the Etsy shop Kringle Workshops where he handcrafts wooden toys for good boys and girls.

Tom is very aware of the resemblance he bears to a certain jolly dude. It’s totally intentional, and, in fact,  as PEOPLE reports, he’s been dressing up as St. Nick since he was a senior in high school, which means he’s been playing the part for four decades straight. He’s also been the official Santa of a Wisconsin town near the Minnesota border since 1980. Tom is likely one of the most experienced Santas in the world. Look, he might actually BE Santa, we don’t know, you guys, CHRISTMAS MAGIC COULD BE REAL.

Tom isn’t cocky about being, you know, basically Santa, he still goes to the Charles Howard Santa School in Midland, Michigan,every few years to brush up on his Christmas skills.

The people who attend this school are the best in the country at what they do, real beard or not,” Tom told PEOPLE.

Generous and humble and not superior at all about his very real beard JUST LIKE SANTA WOULD BE.

He’s totally Santa, he totally is, you will never convince us that he’s not.

To check out Tom’s Christmas workshop, check out his Etsy store here.

(Image via Kringle Workshops)

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