Arkansas has some unique individuals that call our fine state home. One might say we even have some “magical” people that pay us a visit during the holiday season.
Stacy “Santa Pete” Peters is the perfect Santa for the great state of Arkansas. His ingredients for handling this unique role are his warmth and generosity. He is a great entertainer and listener. He also has a “real” white beard and blushing red cheeks.
Stacy Peters grew up in a traditional Church of Christ with his father as the pastor. The tradition of Santa nor the Spirit of Santa Claus were practiced or encouraged.
His father was called “Pete,” his older brother was nicknamed “Little Pete,” and Stacy came along, and they nicknamed him “Repeat.”
As he grew older, “Pete” stuck. All of us who have the pleasure of knowing him just call him “Pete.”
Stacy “Pete” Peters has taken a seat at my “Sunday Supper” table for many years. We belong to a small group that meets bi-weekly to share a meal, conversations, blessings, and devotion.
Pete is always accepting of others. He might disagree with you, but he is up for the debate and will always listen. He often throws meaningful debate questions out on his social media accounts.
Pete will tell you he is an Enneagram 8. Those of us who know him well will agree. Eights are self-confident, strong, assertive, protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but they can also be egocentric.
Several years ago, Stacy’s daughter Katie was in the long line to get Santa’s photos with her kids. As she stood in the long line, she wondered how families that couldn’t afford to take the “mall” trips to get photos taken to Santa would have a chance to meet Santa and get pictures for their kids.
Katie reached out to her dad and said, “You should become Santa for all the families who can’t afford it.” Friends and family agreed that Stacy had the jolly personality and the love for children, combined with his natural white beard and rosy cheeks, was the recipe for a generous Santa.
Stacy’s wife, Kathy, sat down and began to make the “suit.” Stacy started out by playing Santa for our church Christmas gatherings and individual family functions. It wasn’t long that our entire church body wanted a visit from Santa Pete.
One of our church members began putting her marketing skills into action. “I am going to make you a Santa,” said Schell Gower.
Gower began to develop the brand for Santa Pete by building his website, cards, and booking events. It wasn’t long before our own Santa Pete became what is known as a professional Santa Claus.
“I’ve always loved children, and I’m an extrovert,” he says. “I love it, love it, love it — it’s so much fun”, says Pete.
Pete cares so much about spreading Christmas Cheer that he’s devoted time and effort to staying in touch with kids throughout the entire year. He loves to read books to children, sing songs, or just spend time with them.
Since the pandemic, Santa Pete has sent encouraging videos to kids about staying positive and the importance of good handwashing to prevent germs.
Recently retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Pete has time to spend with his family when he isn’t out delivering presents or taking photoshoots. He enjoys time teaching his grandkids to cook. Kathy, Pete’s wife, is an excellent photographer, and she has captured these beautiful moments on the gallery wall at their home.
Pete is one of my very favorite singers. He can be found singing on many records, as part of The Joyful Noise, a praise and worship a capella group that traveled together for many years.
Pete sang backup with Jeff Chandler as part of a tribute to Marty Robbins at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Chandler played rhythm guitar, banjo and sang harmony for Robbins for more than three years.
Our jolly Santa Pete would have no problem singing Christmas cheers to families this Holiday Season. Having a grandchild with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, Pete is experienced in dealing with sensory issues and special needs of children of all ages.
“These children warm my heart,” he says. “Santa isn’t just for children.”
Pete has prepared to work around the requirements that the pandemic has brought and has stocked up on white gloves. He is ready to work around social distance requirements and is set for photo sessions. His website is: http://www.santapete.org/
If you ask Stacy Peters what Santa Pete’s favorite meal would be, he will say, “ribeye steak and fries.” However, he can make a mean PB&J. He recently spent an afternoon explaining to his grandsons on the importance of making a good PB&J.
“If you don’t have milk, you can’t make a PB&J.”, says Pete.
Stacy “Santa Pete” P & J Recipe
2 slices White Bread
Jiff or Peter Pan Peanut Butter Smooth
Welch’s Grape Jelly
- Spread peanut butter on 1 slice of white bread
- Spread Welch’s grape jelly 1 slice of white bead
- Lay the peanut butter slice on top of the Welch’s grape jelly
- Pour milk into glass
- Drink milk and eat PB&J