This time of year, the mall is always crowded with shoppers looking for that perfect gift for their loved ones. It is also busy with families going to get their annual picture with Santa. It is always a happy time where the child gets to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all about the things he/she would love to get for Christmas. A quick snap of a camera and a lifelong memory is captured.
However, this is not the case for all. Many families are not able to participate in this activity because of all the bright lights, Christmas music, and long lines. These pose a significant problem to children who have sensory processing issues, seizures, autism, etc. It can be overwhelming to some children with so much going on at once and can lead to meltdowns and tantrums or even trigger a seizure. Numerous parents would love to have that interaction between Santa and their child and to take a picture to capture the moment but have not had this opportunity.
Multiple malls, libraries, community centers, and other public places have started a new tradition of “Sensitive Santa” which is geared towards these children who cannot cope with the sensory overload which typically is present with Santa. In a “Sensitive Santa” setting, the lights are dimmed, the lines are short or non-existent, and the music is turned down making it a much more enjoyable experience for these children. This allows children to experience the magic of Santa in a way that they can enjoy. Now parents and families can make memories with Santa without worrying about the negative responses. Santa can be an enjoyable and fun experience for all!