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Who's up next on the show's guest list? Direct from Las Vegas, it's old St. Nick

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Courtesy Stephen Arnold

Stephen Arnold, president of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, stars in a Christmas parade.

Usually, it’s Santa who asks the questions, namely was a child good or not? But what makes the person in the red suit tick?

State of Nevada spoke to two professional Santas and woman who portrays Mrs. Claus about what life is like behind the beard.

When asked what got him to first pull on the black boots, John David Barron, who has portrayed Santa in Las Vegas for two decades, said, “I have to blame it all on Mrs. Claus.”

“I've worn a beard my entire life, but it's always been the trim quarter-,  half-inch and, she just asked me out of the blue 20 years ago if I'd ever thought about playing Santa,” Barron told State of Nevada. “Two days later, she surprised me with a deluxe outfit from JC Penney.”

For her part, Barron’s wife, Kitty, said she her uncle used to wow the family as Santa, and “ever since I was four years old. I wanted to be married to Santa.”

The Barrons have built a business — North Pole Entertainment — around their Santa selves.

And while it’s for-profit, John Barron said, “We try to master the real reason for the season as much as conceivably possible.”

“I try to get to across the kids is that Christmas is not a time for being greedy and gimme, gimme, gimme,” he said. “If you have a good heart and want to share with others and do things for your family, then you might see some real rewards coming your way.”

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Stephen Arnold, president of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, said there is more to being a Santa than facial hair. His organization assists Santas with advice on things such as insurance or stagecraft, including at an upcoming conference that is coming back after the pandemic.

“There will be some 36 classes offered by professionals in our industry, who know about beards, and how to make a great incoming presentation, or how to select the sleigh. Every topic that you can imagine that's pertinent to our community,” Arnold said.

Guests

John David Barron; singing Santa; North Pole Entertainment; Kitty Barron, Mrs. Claus, North Pole Entertainment; Stephen Arnold, president, International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas

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