Meet the Real Santas

Real beards, real bellies. But what kind of guy wants to look like St. Nick?

Kids in the town of Panguitch, Utah (pop. 1,600), have a name for Tom Hartsfield: Santa. Hartsfield encourages it, telling them he lives in Utah because it's too cold to stay at the North Pole year round. He'll even invite them to tug his beard if they seem doubtful. When they discover that the white whiskers are real, they tend to give him "sort of a shocked look," he says. "The real beard makes them believe more."

Hartsfield is founder of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, a national group based in Riverside, Calif. The group got its start in 1994...

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