WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. (WKBN) — For 40 years, Santa has been stopping a bit early in West Middlesex and Sharpsville. It’s part of a tradition where members of the community dress up and visit children at their homes.

“Some of the families put presents on the porch and they go in and have a visit from Santa,” said organizer Denise Webster.

About 25 kids got a stop from the Big Man.

“The kids, they think you’re the true blue thing,” said Gary Salatino as Santa Claus.

Salatino has been playing Santa for more than 30 years.

“They look at you, some of them I know personally so it’s really neat that I’ll say something about them and they’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh Santa knows I’ve done that,'” Salatino said.

But Santa wasn’t alone on the sleigh — he brought elf helpers with him, like helper Kalli Coulter.

“I actually really enjoy doing volunteer work,” Coulter said.

The number of families who signed up was lower this year because of COVID.

“Two years ago we had over 160 kids,” Webster said.

For those that did get a surprise visit, they got a chance to feel a little Christmas magic ahead of schedule.

“I do it for my granddaughters and they don’t know,” Salatino said.