There are red and white candles on the mantel, a Christmas tree trimmed with antique ornaments, and stockings — hey, those look like oven mitts! — hung by the chimney with care.
Well, what do you expect at a burger joint?
Eastside Big Tom in Olympia has transformed the covered seating area for its ice cream shack into a festive holiday scene. Owner Michael Fritsch has coined the area “Santa’s living room.”
Santa is scheduled to visit the drive-in at 2023 Fourth Ave. E. from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday to pose for free photos. After news of Santa’s visit went viral on social media, Fritsch decided to make the space open to anyone who wants to use it for their own photo opp. Is your office having an ugly Christmas sweater party? Is your house too messy or not decorated enough for the annual Christmas card photo? Fritsch invites you to come on down.
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Fritsch and his elves raided his grandma’s house next door for decorations, and put the finishing touches on the set on Tuesday night.
Allison Bezanson and her daughters Rachel, 5, and Laura, 3, were among the first visitors.
“We thought it was so cool,” Bezanson said. “... It feels homey.”
Except for this Sunday, which is reserved for the Santa event, the set will be open to the public whenever the drive-in is open, which is 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays through Christmas Eve.
“It’s very festive and bright and colorful,” said Emma Wickett, 15, who posed for photos with her mom and cousins on Wednesday.
There’s no charge, but donations boxes are set up for people who want to bring food for the Thurston County Food Bank, or a toy for Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends’ annual Christmas event.
Fritsch said people are welcome to bring their pets to the set for photos. He said he hopes his business, which has dozens of inflatable Christmas decorations, and Santa’s living room will spread some holiday cheer.
“If you make memories for little kids, that’s the best stuff,” Fritsch said.