I, like Allen Pettebone , have been a Santa at a local mall. Me? Ten years. I am Santa Claus. There is a magical aura about Santa. I am a full-time real Santa during the five-week season. During the rest of the year I change my name so as to blend in.
It is a bit flattering that an organization like "Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas" exists. I take their imitating me as a tribute to my existence.
If those, young and old, see them as honoring the tradition of Santa Claus, that is good. If, however, it is seen as demeaning the belief in Santa, then I am saddened.
Is Santa real? Yes. Can Santa be everywhere at the same time? Yes.