From Financial Advisor to playing Santa Claus

KNWA

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — Families will soon take down their Christmas trees and put away decorations, but a local man is choosing to make Christmas a part of his daily life.

Financial advisor by day but by night, Robert Waddell trades in his business clothes for a red suit.

“What I found out is that it’s really a hot suit when you are inside it,” Waddell said.

Waddell has worked in the finance industry for nearly 15 years. At 61, he decided to take a ride down a different path. “It’s the twilight of your life…you think, ‘have you done everything you wanted to do?’ Do you have any more goals and as you evaluate that you say, ‘well there’s the Santa Claus thing,'” said Waddell.

Last January, for one New Year’s resolution, Waddell decided not to shave. “Turns out, it’s a very curly beard,” said Waddell.

Waddell has wanted to be Santa for seven years and he recently got his chance at a local community event.

“As they came around on the other side of the Christmas tree, there’s Santa Claus and the looks on the kid’s faces. Their eyes would get really big and they’d go, ‘Santa Claus,'” said Waddell.

He was hooked.

“I like being around children and I think if you can bring that mystical person to life, I think that is pretty neat. You’re spreading joy to people,” said Waddell.

Waddell said portraying Saint Nick is more than wearing a red suit and growing a beard.

He plans to go to Santa Claus school in the spring.

“The chance to see a thousand guys who do it all around the world, teaching you the business of Santa Claus and how to be a better Santa Claus.

Waddell said he wants to portray Santa for as long as he can.

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