As someone who has played Santa on a few occasions and has seen many at work, I’ve learned a few things that may make the experience a joy for both you and the kids.
Try to look the part. Many party supply stores offer Santa suits for rent or even for sale. Kids are very observant so don’t think that they won’t notice your running shoes underneath the plastic boot covers. Remove watches and jewelry. Santa is also not into piercing, yet!
Two words: mouth wash.
Today, Santas must be aware of how they hold onto the kids when they are on his knee. If the kid is sitting on the left knee, use the left hand to steady them just below the middle of their back. Avoid touching the child anywhere that may be construed as inappropriate.
You will also need “elves” to help you keep things organized.
Direct the elves who are helping to keep the flow of kids going. One year as I played Santa the slight delay caused by the elves trying to find the appropriate gift for the kids that were sitting on my knee added at least an extra hour to a party that was host to over 130 kids. All gifts should be assorted prior to the party. Not only will it make it easier for Santa but will also keep the kids who are waiting from getting bored.
It may seem like a lot of work but when you look at the faces of the kids, especially the young ones, it will all be worth it.