Meeting Santa Claus at a holiday event as a little kid is a core memory for many people. However, some children miss out on that precious experience because some of those ‘meet Santa Claus’ events are inaccessible.
Thankfully, there are people working hard to ensure that all children, no matter what can meet Santa Claus and have a merry Christmas.
One of those people is Charles Graves, a 53-year-old deaf American man who travels the country as ‘Deaf Santa Claus’ during the holiday season to give deaf children the opportunity to meet and communicate with Santa so they can tell him what they want for Christmas.
While there are many Santas out there who know American Sign Language (ASL) and can sign with deaf children, not all of them have the experience of living as a deaf person.
Charles had memories of not being able to meet and communicate with Santa as a kid, and being unable to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas was very disappointing.
So, when he’s not teaching at the Texas School for the Deaf, he’s traveling the country as Santa Claus alongside his wife, Kari, who is also Deaf and plays Mrs. Claus.
Charles and Kari not only travel to different events around the country to meet and sign with deaf children, but they also meet people virtually. Plus, their services aren’t only for deaf children.
“Everyone experiences the same Christmas magic with Deaf Santa Claus whether they are Deaf or hearing,” is written on Deaf Santa Claus’ website.
“Given that 2% of the world population has some form of hearing loss, and American Sign Language is the third most studied language in the United States, there is tremendous value in meeting and getting to know Deaf Santa Claus. People with Disabilities come from all walks of life and contribute to a more inclusive world.”