Signing Santa back in town, bringing joy to deaf and hard of hearing community

Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 19:54:43-05

MERIDIAN — Signing Santa Claus is in town, finding out what all kids want for Christmas, like three-year-old Abigail.

"She had a good time last year, but this year she definitely knows a lot more sign," said Krista Lehman, Abigail's mother.

Signing Santa has been visiting kids in the Treasure Valley for over 25 years. Every year gets a little bigger.

"There are some kids that are really excited, and they just can't stop talking when they finally realize Santa can sign, and some are just so shocked that they don't say anything, so really it's quite the gamut," said Santa.

The event brings together a community and gives kids a chance to practice social interactions with peers their age.

"See other kids with hearing aids or other kids that sign, and they're like 'oh, I'm not the only one, there are other kids like me,'" said Samantha Rand with Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind.

It's something Santa himself didn't experience as a kid.

"I was born deaf, myself, and every year my family and I would go see Santa at the mall, and unfortunately, there was no way for me to communicate with Santa because he didn't know sign language at the mall," said Santa.

"This is a great opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing children get to interact with Santa, and that's a chance I never had when I was a child, so I think this will be a great memory for these kids when they grow up."

Now when Santa checks his list, he's able to make sure everyone's wishes are being understood.