I started out by sketching the Santa head on the corner of a 4 inch piece of Basswood.
I don't sand them either. I dip them into wood conditioner, dry that off, then stain them, followed by wax and buffing. Add a screw eye and a twist of ribbon and quick little gifts.
These five Santa ornaments took no time at all. And I am sure they will be found on someones Christmas tree for many years to come.