CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Ever since he slid down the first chimney, children have been lining up to speak to Santa. But for some children, that’s harder than it should be.
That’s why one group brought a very special elf to Northlake Mall recently to make sure every kid gets their request in.
“Ho ho ho, there ya go … come on down!”
It’s a Christmas tradition we haven’t seen in a while. Kids crowding in to sit with the big guy.
“How are you? Ho ho ho.”
It’s a cordial visit. But somewhere between the high fives and the side-eye, they get down to business.
Because when it comes to wishes, Santa delivers.
But with so many of the kids in this crowd unable to hear, not just any old elf will do.
“We’ve got a lot of people that came today to see Santa because Santa can sign,” said Blair Johnston, the manager with the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
“That is very much a unique challenge to this community. But we have a Santa Claus who is really excited to fill that role.”
It’s a role this Santa knows well.
“I’ve grown up with a hearing loss. But I learned sign when I was a young kid. It’s just been a blessing to be able to connect and relate to these families,” said Santa.
And while a signing Santa is a gift that keeps on giving, make these kids any different than the ones you know.
“No no difference, a kid is a kid,” said Santa.
Deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind children are just like any other child, they have their wish list prepared things they wanna ask for,” said Johnston.
Eight-year-old Josiah Barajas knows what he wants.
“VR glasses are what he wants plus more dinosaurs. Always more dinosaurs,” said his mother, Sara.
But he’s more apt to share it with someone who speaks his language.
“Because he feels welcome here when there are other people signing with him. He just feels comfortable.”
“You can see that connection that the other kids have when they see Santa,” said Johnston.
So don’t think twice if you see Santa signing. He’s just closing deals.
Everything else goes without saying.
“It’s really more of a blessing for me, more for me than them,” said Santa.
Due to the pandemic, Signing Santa wasn’t able to visit with the kids for a couple of years. This Christmas, he’s back and more popular than ever before.