We’ve been creating custom beards and wigs for Santa since 2008. Over the years, we’ve been lucky to meet and work with so many Santas, from around the world. It seems only right to share some of their work and stories over the coming months on our blog in our Project Profiles series.
How long have you been portraying Santa? What drew you to the work?
I have been portraying Santa for 35 years. I started at age 25. Somebody I knew at the time asked me if I wanted to be Santa for their newborn girl on Christmas Eve 1984. I agreed and went and bought a suit from Toys R US and a beard set from a local costume shop. I went to see the newborn and had a great time even though I had no idea what to say or do! After I left the party I decided to stay in my suit and go to my family’s Christmas Eve party. When I walked into the party all my aunts and uncles were there along with my grandparents and parents. I can still see my father laughing when I walked into the room with the Santa suit.
I started handing out a few presents to my relatives and it was then that I saw the happiness and the child deep inside all of us. To see that made my heart fill with joy. It was a feeling I never wanted to let go of. Seeing people genuinely smile and forget about their problems if only for a few minutes hooked me into the suit forever!
What’s your favorite aspect of being Santa? Most challenging? My favorite aspect about being Santa is seeing the smiles on all the faces of the kids and adults. When I’m at a party I don’t just portray Santa for the kids I also play for the adults. (Something I learned at my very first visit at my family’s party). Adults are kids as well.
My most challenging moments haven’t changed since I had my first job 35 years ago. How to look like Santa and not look like a guy just wearing a Santa suit.
Do you design or execute your own Santa wardrobe? What’s your favorite Santa ensemble?
Right now I have 2 Charles Howard style suits. Being as Charles Howard lived about an hour away from Buffalo that style suit is still very strong in this area and is a timeless suit. That being said I did order a different suit from Pro Santa Shop and I’m really excited to see this suit. It’s going to be a continental style suit in velvet. My beard sets are of course created by Heather and all her team at Custom Wig Company. I can’t begin to count all the times I’ve had people ask me how long it took for me to grow my beard. Thanks Heather.
Are there any events, charities or organizations you’re associated with that you’d like to mention? I’ve done Santa visits for St Andrews Church and Faith United Presbyterian Church. I’ve also appeared at our local Air Force reserve base.
Anything else you think would be of interest to readers about your work as Santa?
For me it’s an honor and privilege to be able to portray Santa. A figure that brings joy and happiness to everybody. To show compassion to a child when needed. To portray a figure that kids can genuinely look up to as a role model. A figure an adult can remember back to their childhood. After all these years seeing everybody smile when I walk in the door still gives me a special feeling.
A few of my friends have a saying that you don’t decide to put on a Santa suit, the suit chooses you to be Santa. I don’t know why the real St. Nicholas chose me to put on the suit but I’m honored to do so. I have to also add that this past Christmas I took pictures with our first grandchild who was 3 months old at the time. I remember when my kids would sit on my lap and take pictures with Santa (it took years for them to figure out it was me) and now I’m sitting with my Granddaughter Giovanna Angelina. What a proud moment for me. Yes she did cry and, to be honest when I was changing out of the suit I had tears of joy in my eyes.
To learn more about about Santa David, visit his website Santadavid.com