By Terrica Hendrix
Larry Jefferson, a 1982 Nashville High School graduate, is bringing smiles, joy, and candy canes to all children this Christmas.
He was selected as the first black Santa at the Santa Experience at the Mall of America this past summer.
Jefferson is also a retired U.S. Army veteran and a Henderson State University graduate.
Since his selection as Santa was announced, Jefferson has been all over the country flying from Minnesota to Texas.
When he isn’t booked up with appearances as Santa, he spends his time an Uber driver.
He said the attention he has received as Santa has been incredible.
“I can’t believe people people were driving and flying from a far distance to come see me and get their picture taken. I’m humbled and I’m amazed, and I just thank God for the opportunity to share joy and happiness and holiday cheer with everybody.”
Jefferson, who is also an actor, said that it’s important that people do not forget what Christmas is all about. “It’s about celebrating Christ’s birth” and the joy and love that comes with Him.
“Christmas isn’t about how much money you have to spend on gifts and things. It’s not about that. All you need is love. The love of Christ,” he said.
As far possible negative opinions about Jefferson being a black Santa, he said: “I have so much faith and so many people praying for me that I don’t pay attention to it. I sweep it under my feet and keep on going. Don’t pay attention to negative people.”
Jefferson has been featured in national and state media and was the subject of a story in Sunday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
He will be in Hope this week to make an appearance at a daycare. A visit to Nashville is tentatively planned for Friday. Details will be announced.