LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Santa Pete, 65, is a real-bearded Santa that lives in Little Rock.
For Pete and his family, it’s Christmas all year round.
“I’m Santa year-round,” says Pete. “Children come up to me in restaurants or stores … they will come up to me and ask, Are you Santa, and then I always go, well are you, you.”
Pete says he loves to put a smile on faces young and old with his holiday cheer. Pete says Christmas isn’t just a holiday, season or event for him and his family- it’s a lifestyle.
“Make it Christmas every day. Don’t do it only for a month at a time,” says Pete. “Be kind. Say thank you. Be polite. Be courteous. Be civil with people you disagree with.”
Pete says his grandson, who has Aspergers helped him to be a better Santa.
“My grandson doesn’t like physical contact and so I never reach for kids but instead let them come up to me,” says Pete.
Pete has been dressing up as Santa for more than 7 years. He says he feels a responsibility to give children something to believe in.
“Children have so much realism in their life,” says Pete. “It’s important for children to have something very positive to believe in even if it’s for a short season in their life…. I’m honored to be the agent of that.”
When Pete isn’t dressed in his holiday garments he works at the Arkansas Democratic Gazette, however, he will retire this coming spring.
“Honestly, since becoming Santa full time I think I have become a better person,” he says.
Now, Pete says he has a Santa suit for every day of the week and always carries a back up when he travels because the day can be unpredictable. He also says he has 144 pairs of white gloves because he wants to ensure when interacting with children that he doesn’t spread germs.
“What makes a good Santa is you have to first love children,” he says. “And of course be happy.”
Meet Santa Pete before December 25th, click here for details.