We had a blast at the 2019 Lancaster Sensitive Santa! Sensitive Santa is a program that thankfully is now available around the world, in some form or another. It’s been awesome seeing articles indicating that malls and other venues are training this jolly Old St. Nicks to be more attune and inclusive or individuals that might have different needs than what was traditionally available before.
12 years ago, The Tommy Foundation started our program. Through the years it’s been evolving more and more and this year we partnered with Excentia Human Services to provide a location that could provide a more spacious/relaxed atmosphere for our families. In one room, we had a waiting area, replete with snacks, crafts, decorations, sensory toys and fidgets and more. In the other room, we had Santa and our merry Frozen themed characters (we typically embrace whatever film was super popular this season). Throughout the time, our amazing guests can take their time getting to warm up with Santa and getting that perfect family moment that a rushed visit in a crowded mall just can’t replicate.
3 years ago, we started a new version of the program as well, and we started visiting schools that requested it to do story time, take pictures, etc… Again this year we went as Frozen characters to New Story school, where parents and caregivers were also invited along to be a part of cookie decorating with Anna and Kristoff. It’s been so rewarding to be able to give back to families and allow individuals to be a part of the Holiday spirit on their terms. We hope to see more and more programs pop up throughout the world that truly embrace the needs of our loved ones.