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The art of being Santa

Corey Perrine/Staff
Riley Gibson, 9 months experiences her first Santa Claus, played by Larry Sellers, and photographed by her aunt Regina Gibson Saturday, at Walmart Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.

Photo by COREY PERRINE

Corey Perrine/Staff Riley Gibson, 9 months experiences her first Santa Claus, played by Larry Sellers, and photographed by her aunt Regina Gibson Saturday, at Walmart Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his "whole life" but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.

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  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Amber Wait thanks Larry Sellers for playing the role of Santa Claus, both of Naples, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at the 6650 Collier Blvd. Walmart in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'He's the embodiment of joy and charity,' Wait said. 'Even as a 36 year old woman, he just fills my heart.'
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers walks into the the laundry room while a crucifix hangs on the wall Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at his Naples home. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. Sellers was raised Catholic.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers grooms his beard before a gig Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'This is three months of growth past Kenny Rodgers,' Sellers said with a laugh.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Riley Gibson, 9 months experiences her first Santa Claus, played by Larry Sellers, and photographed by her aunt Regina Gibson Saturday, at Walmart Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers and his wife Zena Sellers display how they make children feel more comfortable, signing 'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,' Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 agh their home in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'To me the image of Santa Claus is the imagination of a child,' Larry said.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Readying himself for a gig at Walmart, Larry sellers applies hairspray Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at his Naples home. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Amber Wait wipes tears after taking a picture with Larry Sellers, both of Naples Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at Walmart in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'He's the embodiment of joy and charity,' Wait said. 'Even as a 36 year-old woman he just fills my heart.'
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers applies a whitener to his brows and parts of his real beard Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Zena Sellers helps distribute glitter and makeup on her husband, Larry Sellers, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers puts on his Santa coat while his wife, Zena Sellers, helps Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers leans over to greet Samantha Connerly, 2, in a shopping cart as her mom, Jennifer, and sister, Kelsey, 14, look on all of Naples Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at Walmart in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers puts on white gloves before a gig Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. He went to Santa school in Denver to better emulate his role.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers and his wife Zena Sellers walk into Walmart Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Riley Gibson, 9 months, takes a good look at Santa, Larry Sellers, while being held by her aunt, Regina Gibson, all of Naples Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'It's all about the joy of the children, the giving of hope and the love,' Sellers said. 'And knowing that every person is in essence their own Santa because everyone gives to another.'
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Thessaly Smith, 2, is a bit timid of Santa, Larry Sellers, while being held by her aunt, Denise Mendez, 11, all of Naples Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'She's always been scared,' Denise said. 'Not sure why.'
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
The Risinger family wait their turn to be photographed with Santa as Becka Khasanov, 6, of Naples, stands on a stool all Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Regina Gibson laughs with Larry Sellers after her niece, Riley, 9 months,  was a little uncomfortable sitting on Santa's lap and started crying at Walmart Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Larry Sellers meditates before each gig to review inventory of supplies and mentally prepare Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at his home in Naples. Sellers, 62, says he has been playing the role of Santa Claus his 'whole life' but been at it professionally the past six years since his first gig in a Borders bookstore. 'If your heart's not in it, it doesn't matter, those are the people who are just out for your money,' Sellers said.
  • Corey Perrine/Staff
Ski Olesky waves to the crowd dressed as Santa Claus Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 at Ave Maria's downtown square. A few thousand came out to celebrate the Celebration of Lights, an annual Christmas festival. Food, games, music, simulated ice skating and more were featured at the event.

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