His name is Fritz Collins, but to those who stop by his home in Desert Hot Springs this time of year he’s known as Santa Clause.
Two years ago he sat in front of his home in full Saint Nick attire allowing parents and children to take pictures at no cost. Last year he did the same while also handing out toys.
“My wife and I spoke earlier this year and I decided I wanted to make it bigger and better so we’ve been buying toys throughout the year,” said Collins.
On Sunday December 23rd at 6 p.m. Santa on Via Vista in Desert Hot Springs is expecting up to 350 kids to show up for a photo, gift, candy, cookies and hot cocoa to wash it down. The entire “Santa at the mall” experience free of charge for anyone who drops by.
“One lady said that she has three kids and it was going to cost her over a hundred bucks. I said ‘I don’t charge anything.’ They even offered to pay and I don’t charge anything for it,” Collins said.
Collins says he became accustomed to spoiling his own children. But now that they are adults, Collins shares the same spirit of giving with the children in his neighborhood.
Spinners, dolls, hot wheels and puzzles are up for grabs. Some of it payed for out of his own wallet, some donated. This year Collins is giving local malls a run for their money.
“My daughter in law is a semi-professional photographer and she’s actually going to be taking photos with her camera, she’s done a background and she will give people an email address where they get the professional photos from,” said Collins.