Sensitive Santa is coming to town—in a Canadian city near you

Kids with autism and other sensory sensitivities don't have to miss out on meeting with Santa. Here's where they can still meet a Sensitive Santa in 2017.

Kids with autism and other sensory sensitivities often feel overwhelmed in malls—particularly around Christmas, when shopping centres are full of bright lights, loud music and harried shoppers. But that doesn’t mean kids on the spectrum don’t want to meet with Father Christmas.

Thankfully there are more and more “Sensitive Santa” events happening across the country to offer kids prone to sensory overload the chance to share their Christmas list in a low-key environment with a Father Christmas who has undergone special training.

Fear of Santa: It's OK to skip the photo op
Until Christmas Eve in Toronto, at the Eaton Centre, for a $10 donation to Autism Speaks Canada and Eva’s Initiative, you can book a one-on-one appointment with Santa. Your child’s visit will be calm and without any waiting in line.

For the first Christmas ever at McAllister Place in St John, a soft-spoken Santa will be greeting New Brunswick kids with sensory sensitivities. No need to climb on his lap—he’ll get down and talk and play with kids on the floor. Sensitive Santa is coming to town on Sunday December 10, 2017, from 9-11.

In Edmonton, at Londonderry Mall, Silent Santa will be dropping in two more times this year (December 11 and 18) for 5- or 10-minute visits by appointment, before the mall is even open to the public. There will be no mall music or Santa-set lighting to keep the experience low key.

On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, until December 20, Silent Santa will be taking appointments at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Working with Autism NS, the mall has created a dim-lit, open space where kids with special needs can relax with Saint Nick.

December 17 is a big day for kids with autism and sensory sensitivities in St John’s. Sensitive Santa’s sled will be touching down at the Avalon Mall, so the Big Man can check in with these kids, between 10am and 12 noon, to ask if they’ve been naughty or nice—by appointment, of course.

At Lawson Heights Mall, in Saskatoon, Sensitive Santa will be making an appearance on December 10. The quieter event happens after hours—so no crowds—and is being offered in partnership with Autism Services Saskatchewan.

In Ottawa’s Hazeldean Mall, Sensory Santa Sundays will be happening, before the stores open, from 10-11am on December 10 and 17. The music will be turned down and the lines short, and families with a child on the spectrum will have a chance to connect with one another at this event organized by Quick Start Early Intervention for Autism.

Victoria, BC’s Mayfair Shopping Centre is the place to be to meet Sensitive Santa, on Dec 16 and 17. Santa is trained to interact with kids, based on their individual needs, and he’ll be meeting with them before regular opening hours, with the mall music turned off.

At the annual Autisme Montreal Christmas Party, in Montreal, Père Noël will be dropping in to say Bonjour/hi! to kids on the spectrum. The tickets-only event takes place on December 10, at Centre Communautaire de Rosemont L’Entre-Gens, and is open to kids with autism and their parents and siblings.

Have yourselves a peaceful little Christmas!

Read more:
3 tips for getting a great picture with Santa
What Christmas is like when your kid has special needs

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