COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- This year is looking very different for many, even one specific jolly old man is having to make some changes.
Around Colorado Springs many know him as Santa Joe, and he is hoping to keep decades worth of traditions alive for families, even with COVID-19.
"Let's see, the first time I did Santa was 1973 in a plastic suit, in a fake beard," he said.
Over those nearly five decades, he's collected quite a collection of photos with thousands of families.
"I average probably anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000 families a year. You'll see they've been with me from 7, 8, 9, 15, 19, 20 years," Santa Joe said.
But this year, he knows things are tough and wants to give families a safe kind of experience. Beginning Sunday, by his own choice, he has decided to open his "summer home away from the North Pole" in Colorado Springs to kids and their parents, while keeping them healthy.
"I chose not to have a photographer this year for two reasons: people can't really afford pictures; the other is not to put my photographers at risk," he said.
They will also sit at least eight feet away from him and his sleigh.
So even during the busiest time of the year, Santa Joe says he will do the best he can when it comes to spreading Christmas cheer.
"Kids need this. We need to have some hope. I don't know how else I can do it. This is the best I can do right now," he said.
He says El Paso County Public Health with inspect his set-up Saturday to ensure it's safe for families.
If you'd like to find out more about Santa Joe's schedule, visit his website.