For kids, Christmas can be a magical time of year, filled with both seasonal sights and sounds. A couple of men who portray Santa Claus are making sure that every kid, regardless of his or her disability, has a chance to experience this.
In Fairfax, Va., the Fair Oaks Mall recently hosted a "Signing Santa Day." Santa Claus posed for photos and communicated with hearing-impaired children in sign language.
"I think it's very important because it means that she can be independent and go talk to Santa one-on-one instead of me trying to gesture or figure out what he's trying to say to her or telling her," a mother explained to WTTG. The Fox affiliate ran its story in mostly silence with subtitles.
"Other people who use different languages can talk to Santa, so deaf and hard-of-hearing kids need to be able to talk to Santa too," the person dressed as Mr. Claus told the TV station.
He isn't the only Jolly Old St. Nick catering to the hearing-impaired. Scott Powers in the metro Detroit area is known as "Deaf Santa." Powers is deaf, and knows firsthand children's frustration with attempting to communicate a wish list to Santa.
"I remember back when I was young, I couldn't communicate with Santa, crying, and Santa didn't understand me," Powers told Fox affiliate WJBK. "I like to be able to do this. I've been doing it every year. I love doing it."
It is people like Powers who truly help make this season the most wonderful time of the year.