UTAH (ABC4) — Looking for a Christmas gift for a Mandalorian fan?
Tanner Frederiksen, a local actor and comedian, said he is giving out Mandalorian-themed Christmas cards to people who donate at least $10 to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The goal is to raise $10,000 for the children’s hospital by December 17.
Frederiksen gained popularity when he dressed up as the Star Wars character, Mandalorian a.k.a Din Djarin, in October 2021 and created an Instagram account to document his alter ego in a “Mommy Blog” style.
“Hi! My name is Din! I’m just a single dad who loves his kid. Follow to see our adventures!” Frederiksen wrote in his first Instagram post for the character.
His version of Mandalorian, which is usually seen with his “kid” — a small Grogu figurine, appears in the most mundane of spaces doing the most ordinary things: strolling in the park, skiing on a mountain, buying new clothes at Walmart, pumping gas for his sleek Hyundai and many more.
“The dynamic of this spaceman and this alien baby was really, really funny,” he said. “And so I was like, ‘It’d be funny to do a parody of the classic Utah mommy blogger/influence accounts that you see a lot of.'”
Frederiksen said he would describe his interpretation of the Mandalorian character as the “unashamed dad.”
“My version of the character is just like the everyday parent,” he said.
Individuals who donate between $10 to $49 will receive Mandalorian-themed Christmas cards from Frederiksen. Everyone who donates $50 and above will receive the cards, a personalized video message from the Mandalorian and an 8×10 print of Ahsoka created by Nichole Marie.
The first round of Christmas cards will be mailed out on December 10. Individuals who donate between December 10 and December 17 will have cards mailed out on December 19. In that case, Frederiksen said there may be a chance the cards won’t arrive until after Christmas.
People who reside outside of the United States are welcome to donate and apply.
Unsurprisingly, kids love Frederiksen’s Mandalorian costume. And in fact, they are the inspiration behind his fundraiser.
“Whenever I go out in public, it’s the kids who get the most excited to see me,” he said. “And [they] always want to take a picture and talk to Grogu.”
He remembered how at the end of a St. Patricks Day parade he attended in his Mandalorian costume, he thought it would be funny to jump in and walk on the street, waving to everyone as if he was originally part of the parade. He said he got about 20 feet before he was “mobbed” by a group of kids
“If a kid asks for a picture, I always say yes,” he said. “They think it’s fun, and it just brings them a lot of joy.”
Donations poured in quicker than Frederiksen expected. Within the first 24 hours, he said the donations already hit $1,000. As of Nov. 22, he has raised almost $3,000.
“Honestly [the fundraiser] moved a lot quicker than I thought it would,” he said. “[$10,00] was kind of like a stretch goal — just throw it out there, but I feel like it’s achievable, for sure.”
St. Jude took note of Frederiksen’s fundraiser and responded to his post.
“We appreciate you for thinking of the kids of St. Jude!” the children’s hospital commented.
Dressing up as a character and going out in public may be a daunting task to many. People have asked Frederiksen in the past if he felt embarrassed walking around in a Mandalorian costume, but as an actor, it is in his nature to put up a performance.
He said he enjoys making people laugh by doing things the true Mandolarion character would probably never do.
“I’ll be pushing an alien in a stroller or something, you know?” he said. “It’s funny and people laugh, and the kids just love it.”