A "Signing Santa Day" celebration at a Virginia shopping mall brought some holiday cheer to local children with hearing loss.
The Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Va., hosted the event, which gave the kids a chance to confide their Christmas wishes to a shopping-mall Santa Claus who was fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), according to Patch Media's Centreville. The event took place in the mall's Microsoft Ice Palace, which features a 30-foot ice dome and falling snow.
Several parents spoke to local Fox affiliate WTTG about how much the event meant to their children.
"If we had gone to visit a regular Santa Claus, he would probably only hear about half of what Santa was saying," one mother explained. "It's nice that he sees the sign and hears Santa speaking at the same time."
However, "Signing Santa Day" isn't the only recent Christmastime event planned for children with hearing loss. A man in Michigan will host three such events this holiday season.
Last week, local Fox affiliate WJBK spoke with Scott Powers, who goes by "Deaf Santa," during his Christmastime event at a Southfield, Mich., pizza parlor. Powers, who grew up deaf, holds the gatherings to give children the chance to have their classic Santa Claus moment.
"I believe that kids should be able to tell Santa what they want for Christmas," Powers told WJBK. He hopes to bring that holiday joy to children at his events.
Sometimes, magical holiday moments like these come without planning. Last year, 3-year-old Cameron Sylvester, who is deaf, visited a shopping-mall Santa Claus southwest of Boston with his family. Once Santa realized the boy's condition, he began speaking to him in ASL, bringing joy to the entire family.