Everyone knows who the big jolly man with a white beard in the red suit. Santa Claus—whose origin came from Saint Nicholas who is a generous man, giving gifts during Christmas Eve—has always been part of the holiday festivities and family Christmas traditions.
However, not all kids grow believing in Santa Claus. Some families argue that Santa Claus might be stealing the spotlight from the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. Christmastime is not just about giving gifts, like what Santa does. It's about celebrating the birthday of Jesus.
That's just not the case for these men who took the role of Santa on a whole new level.
Every year, malls reserve a special place in their establishments for Santa to have kids sit on their lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. This year, these Santa Clauses prove that he is not just about material things.
Mali Williams-Cody has learning and communication difficulties. When she sat on Santa's lap, her mom Suzanne told him she can't talk very well, but "she's getting there." Santa then asked if she uses sign language. When Suzanne replied that she knows a little bit of sign language, Santa Clause tapped Mali on the arm and started signing to communicate to her. The whole meet-up was captured in a short video hat has been viewed more than 100,000 times You can see how Mali's face lit up when she was actually able to tell Santa her wish.
A spokesperson for the Middlesbrough's Cleveland Center mall said in an interview with Buzzfeed, “We believe the Cleveland Centre Santa is real and this truly captures the magic and spirit of Christmas. Santa wants to make sure every child who visits really does experience what this time of year is all about. Santa will take his time with each and every child and will try and put a smile on their faces.”
2. Santa got down on the floor for a boy with autism
Six-year-old Brayden Deely has autism. His mom Erin never thought she would get a photo of Brayden with Santa Claus "because it's something he can't handle," what with the noise in the busy mall and the pressure to smile. When she heard about the Caring Santa program, an annual program that support group Autism Speaks helps organize, she had to try.
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At North Carolina's SouthPark mall, Brayden was inching his way away from the big man in the red suit. Then Santa Claus got up from his chair and gets down on the floor and without saying a word, started play with him. And so mom Erin got the pictures she had always wanted for her son. She says it was truly a special gift from Santa to her whole family. "I just want to hug this man. He's so wonderful!" she says in an interview with People.
Landon had already told Michigan’s RiverTown Crossings Mall's Santa Claus what he wanted for Christmas when he doubled back to tell him that he has autism. Santa then took Landon’s hand and started rubbing them to calm him down. The man with the big white beard asked Landon if it bothers him the he has the condition, and the boy said yes and that "sometimes he gets in trouble at school and it's hard for people to understand that he has autism, and that he's not a naughty boy," writes his mom Naomi on her Facebook post.
What Santa told Landon was that it should not bother him that he has autism, to accept who he is because he had been a very good boy as he is. "My child is a great advocate for himself. But this day was different. He opened up to this person about who he was and he was accepted... He was Landon, sitting with Santa and being told that it was ok to be himself. Mommy tells him all the time that he's special and I love him the way he was made, but it's always nice to hear it from others," adds Naomi.
4. Santa perfectly handles child who just had a seizure
Ryland, a two-year-old boy who has epilepsy and a form of cerebral palsy, went to the mall to celebrate the season to be jolly. Just before they left their home, he had a seizure at home which left him exhausted. His mom Samantha still wanted to take him to Saint Nicholas anyway. “We felt he deserved an experience with Santa,” said Samantha.
Before Ryland’s turn came up, he already feel asleep. Samantha came up to Santa Clause to place Ryland on his lap and explained that he just had seizure and probably wouldn’t wake up just yet. “Santa immediately cuddled with him and very quietly talked to him for a while. When it came time for a photo, he pretended like he was snoozing along with Ryland, making for one awesome picture and a very memorable moment for us!” Samantha wrote in a Facebook post to The Mighty.
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Indeed, Santa Claus is not just about presents. He is also about spreading joy and love.
How was your child's exprience with Santa Claus like?
Sources: December 8, 205. "Santa Communicating To A Little Girl Through Sign Language Will Warm Your Heart (buzzfeed.com) December 3, 2015. "Kind Mall Santa Gets on the Floor for Boy with Autism: 'I Thought We Would Never Get Those Holiday Pictures,' His Mom Says" (people.com) December 8, 2015. "Santa's Response to This Little Boy Telling Him He Has Autism Is the Sweetest Thing" (popsugar.com) December 7, 2015. "Santa Poses for Sweet Pic With Exhausted Boy Who Just Had Seizure" (themighty.com)