I have found that there exists quite a learning curve when one starts to carve a new item. In fact this is true whenever a new effort is started. It is much easier to change a project that you are experienced in carving than learning a whole new project.
I carve simple Gnomes all the time. I know the sequence of cuts that work for the best. In order to carve a simple Santa why not just modify the Gnome pattern. When studying the gnome it is easy to see that there are very few differences between the gnome and a Santa.
These differences are the hat and the coat. I'll add some white trim to Santa's coat.
Here's some examples to compare: