Most parents I know with young children dread the obligatory Santa visit each year. After all of the effort that goes into stuffing kids into their holiday best and waiting in an excruciatingly long line, they are typically falling apart by the time the big moment arrives. Let’s not even mention that once they are on Santa’s lap they are often underwhelmed.
“Why is this Santa’s beard dirty? Where are his glasses? Santa smells funny.” And then comes the photo. At least one child is always hysterical.
But this story about a mall Santa in Charlotte that was featured on The Today Show truly warmed my heart. It made me stop and realize that the Santa visit so many parents dread is not possible for all children. Thanks to Caring Santa, a program organized by the group Autism Speaks, children like Brayden Deely get the chance to visit Santa after the stores have closed. There are no lines, no crowds and no sensory overload. What a brilliant idea. Thanks to Caring Santa, parents across the country with children with autism will have a photo of their child with Santa this year, even if they are not sitting on his lap.
We all need reminders like this during the holiday season to be more appreciative. My children visited Santa this weekend, and I must say, I had a completely different outlook on the experience. We got lucky this year; no tears for the first time (at least not from the kids)!
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