Some people are natural Santas. Others have to grow into the position. I am one of the later.
I am 58 years old this year. I am one of those guys who has worn a beard for most of his adult life (grew up in Alaska, where such things are not uncommon). After an all expense paid vacation courtesy of Uncle Sam back in the 80's, I worked in Alaska, California, Oregon, and California again before moving with my wife and family to North Carolina. As I've grown older, my beard has become greyer, and I've added 60 or 70 pounds. It occurred to me several years ago that I could make a good Santa some day.
About me: Worked as a Civil Engineer for a dozen years, since that was what my dad had been. Found that it wasn't a great fit, so I changed to IT, and ended up doing Quality Assurance, where I remain. Took up a number of pursuits over the years, of which Gardening, Ham Radio, and Public Speaking (Toastmasters) are more less my current side activities.. Two kids, one of whom is away a college, the other having just announced that he planned to enlist (he says Marines, although we'll see). House in the suburbs. HOA Board member (only one more year on my commitment... Hooray!). Typical middle class geek.
This year, our HOA was planning its annual Holiday Festival, which included a Santa. I attended the Social committee meeting, and when the role of Santa came up, the new Board President, who had done Santa last year, said he guessed he could do it again. Everyone else looked at him (clean shaven, older real-estate guy), and then looked over at me (3 - 4 inch beard, already greying), and said "Why don't we get Mike to do it?". The rest is history. Spent 3 hours one Saturday afternoon in a borrowed Santa suit, interacting with the neighborhood kids (and adults), and having a blast. Yes, this was for me!. I had already planned to get a Santa Suit, so it was just a matter of figuring out the rest of what I needed to become Santa.
Google is your friend. It quickly led me to a number of Santa sites, which included ClausNet. Here I've found a wealth of information and ideas that will let me map out the road to acting as Santa. AFTER the holiday season is past, I'll be making contact with several of the local ClauseNet Santas for advise and guidance. Also, I'll be buying the suit and other goodies as my budget permits, but I'm hoping to have the basics ready to go by the August time frame. Aiming to start doing the Santa thing next year.