Santa and Mrs. Claus are getting ready for the 2018 Christmas season. This Friday launches their annual 12 Days of Christmas, inviting children to “South Pole Vacation Home” in Desert Cedars.
If You Go
What: Maricopa Santa
When: Nov. 23-Dec. 23, Friday-Saturday 6-9 p.m., Sunday 6-8 p.m.
Where: 44267 W. Cypress Lane
How much: Free (please bring an unwrapped toy)
The home of Rich and Linda Huggins at 44267 W. Cypress Lane will be open Fridays and Saturdays 6-9 p.m. and Sundays 6-8 p.m. through Dec. 23 for children to visit with Santa. This year is special as the calendar allows five weekends, or 15 Days of Christmas.
The visit with Santa is free. Those who visit are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to benefit F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank’s Christmas program.
The big opening celebration Friday will have Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving on a Maricopa Fire/Medical Department truck escorted by cheerleaders from Beth Mundell’s RockStar Arizona.
“We take time with every child,” said Rich Huggins, who owns Maricopa Pool & Spa and is known as Maricopa Santa.
Every child also receives a candy cane. All who bring a toy will receive a raffle ticket. The winning ticket for a 40-inch television will be drawn Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.
The event involves three houses on Cypress Lane. The Hugginses said they always register their home for the City’s Holiday Homes on Parade, not to win but to be on the map.
“We have close to 100,000 lights,” Linda Huggins said.
Both Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their finest ensembles. Last year, local seamstress Amanda McVay of Amanda Sews created a new outfit for Santa as his previous clothes were getting worn out by time and the many children who have been on his knee.
This year, McVay made a whole new outfit for Mrs. Claus after having to take in the old dress a few times due to dramatic weight loss.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” Linda Huggins said.
She said many parents have told her the visit with Santa after Thanksgiving has become their families’ traditional way to start the Christmas season.
“We had 75 kids the first year,” said Linda Huggins, who chairs the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission. “Last year, we had 885. We keep track by the number of candy canes we give out.”
Rich Huggins has been Maricopa Santa since they moved to Maricopa in 2005. They opened their Desert Cedars home to visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus in 2006. After Christmas, they head off on vacation.
But even when visiting Caribbean shores in his vacation togs, there’s no mistaking Santa. Just as he does when he helps the mayor light the tree at City Hall or helps local fire and police departments with their Christmas programs, he always draws a crowd.
Learn more about the Hugginses in the December issue of InMaricopa.