Santa knows how to connect to children all over the world and three Santas have exemplified this perfectly by going the extra mile to make three little children’s experiences as magical as can be. Come and experience these beautiful moments that are a true testament to the Christmas spirit.
Three different Santas in the United States and United Kingdom have connected to three children, one with a speech impediment and two with autism, in the most unexpected ways. All of these stories prove that the spirit of Santa is more powerful than many of us may realise.
This first video is, simply put, beautiful. Three-year-old Mali Phoenix Williams-Cody is not deaf but she struggles to communicate with speech and language. Sensing the little girl’s difficulty, Santa asks her if she could sign. The little girl nods and what ensues will leave you with a tear in your eye.
Graeme Skillen, the Cleveland Shopping Centre manager who witnessed the exchange along with hundreds of visitors, mall staff and security members, told TODAY, “As soon as it happened, the whole area just went silent. Everyone was just spellbound by it. People were crying in the crowd. It was just an amazing moment.”
Across the pond in the United States, two other Santas have gone above and beyond for two little boys with autism.
Last week six-year-old Landon Johnson got to meet Santa at his local shopping centre in Michigan. Landon’s mother, Naomi Johnson told Santa that her son had autism to which Santa simply said to Landon, “It’s OK to be you.”
These five words meant the world to both Landon and his mum. Landon then told Santa that he sometimes get into trouble in school and he is worried he is a naughty boy.
According to Naomi, who posted the story on the Autism Awareness Facebook page, “Santa sat him next to him and took his hands in his and started rubbing them, calming him down. Santa asked Landon if it bothered him, having Autism? Landon said yes, sometimes. Then Santa told him it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t bother him to be who he is.”
“He opened up to this person about who he was and he was accepted,” Naomi explains. “He was Landon, sitting with Santa and being told that it was ok to be himself.”
A similar story comes out of North Carolina when Brayden Deely met Santa. Erin Deely and her husband had given up on the notion of capturing the perfect moment with Santa after discovering their son, six-year-old Brayden had autism. However, through the Caring Santa program, organised by the group Autism Speaks, Brayden met the man in red after hours and on his own terms.
Brayden and Santa played together on the floor for twenty minutes before Brayden felt comfortable enough to give Santa a high five.
“To be able to do something that’s ‘normal,’ like have a traditional photo and a traditional childhood memory is great,” Brayden’s mum, Erin told TODAY.
“Now we can have an actual Christmas picture, and our son feels safe. It’s him literally being himself, and Santa getting on his level and accommodating him, rather than the other way around.”
Brayden is one of the many children who meet Santa though the Caring Santa program which currently runs in 120 different cities across the United States and aims to provide a calmer, stress-free experience for families.
Let’s face it – some kids are absolutely terrified of Santa. Witnessing these interactions certainly warms the heart to say the least. Make sure you check out some of our featured Santa photos from our readers as well as our favourite awkward Santa photos from this year.