Northlake Mall lets special needs children meet Santa during closed hours
05 December, 2017, 02:31 | Author: Earnest Huff
"We know that taking a photo with Santa is a valued holiday tradition and we wanted to make that inclusive for all families", says Springfield Town Center Marketing Director Kimberly Baldy.
"It's a lovely experience because normally we wouldn't attempt a mall for the sounds and all the sensory experiences", Kim said. The report says it's unknown who took the full Santa Claus suit and an extra hat from a back room at the mall.
The mall lights were dimmed, the music was turned off, the workshop was open before operating hours, and families scheduled in appointments to avoid waiting in line.
"When there is a lot more people, they get a lot more nervous".
The goal of the gathering was to ease sensory triggers and create a more welcoming environment for children with special needs.
"I hope we get to do this next year", says O'mary.
Kyle Fletcher, who brought his daughter to the event, says, "She's four or five-year old and we have just never been able to do this before, so I think this picture, the one we got today is really the only one with her and Santa being happy". There was not a lot of traffic in the mall.
Caring Santa has been operating across Simon Properties for several years.
"He doesn't like crowds and he needs a little bit calmer", said Flannery.
Avila explained, "We don't have to worry about if he has a meltdown. It's no big deal", Avila said. "It's just something that goes on".
"It's just a wonderful experience to be able to give them a chance to be just an everyday kid and to be able to enjoy the same things that all kids do", Kim said.
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