Dr. Charles Nuttall never intended to grow up and look like Santa Claus, but now he's totally slaying the look.
The 74-year-old sports a thick, white natural beard that he’s been growing since July this year. Even without his red, faux-fur costume, he resembles every kid’s dream gift-giver during the holidays.
Nuttall has played Santa Claus at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park for the past six years. The Nobel Peace Prize winner — yes, you read that right — loves every minute of it. Each year he makes sure he has everything he needs: 99 cent, gold-rimmed spectacles; white gloves; black boot covers; and of course, his Santa hat.
His robust laugh and belly are all natural, too.
“The first people to notice it were my relatives in England,” Nuttall told InsideEdition.com. “I used to go there for a family reunion around Christmas time. The matriarch of the family, one of my cousins, recruited me to be the Father Christmas to hand out toys from Santa's grotto to the little cousins.”
And after that, said Nuttall, it became his regular job at family gatherings. For his day job, he's been a nephrologist since 1971. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 alongside a group of doctors who were against nuclear war. He now serves as a pharmaceutical consultant part-time.
During the holidays though, that's when he transforms into your go-to Santa, showing up at company and family parties and spreading Christmas cheer across New York City.
“I didn’t always look like Santa,” Nuttall said. “I never intended to grow up to look like Santa but since it happened, I have been trying to make the most of it, and I think I’ve succeeded. I feel pretty happy about how it’s turned out.”
Each year, Nuttall adds a little something new to his costume. This season, it’s jingling bells. As he got ready for the opening day of Santa’s corner in Bryant Park on Dec.14, he made sure the bells were snapped onto his risk securely.
Standing alongside four singing carolers in the park, he made sure he shook his wrist to the rhythm.
In the crowd that looked on, toddlers twirled in circles to the music and kids and parents alike stood in awe.
“For one month out of the year I'm a celebrity,” Nuttall said.
Kids shuffled up to him one by one and he was often cracking jokes. To one teen girl sporting ripped jeans, he asked what she wanted for Christmas, and before she could answer he quipped, “new Jeans, I see,” before they both chuckled.
Several adults without kids came to sit beside Santa and get their picture snapped as well. Even dogs joined in on the fun.
“The best part obviously is bringing joy to people and bringing smiles to their faces at a time when everybody's stressed and focused on all the pressures of the holidays,” Nuttall said. “It's sort of a chance for them to just sort of smile and laugh and focus on what's really important.”