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(Canada) Regina, SK: "Silent Santa" event hosted for autistic children

Nov 25, 2023, Global News: Silent Santa event gives kids with autism a chance to celebrate the holidays

Santa Claus has been a busy man since coming to malls in Regina this holiday season, but he set aside some time for the kids who might find it difficult to be in large crowds.

On Saturday the Government House hosted a Silent Santa event which gave families with autistic children a chance to meet the Christmas icon in a comfortable environment.

"A mall environment might be very overwhelming for autistic children, so this is a space where it’s a private session with Santa and their families,” Siobhan Neary, an autism consultant said.

Neary said she hopes events like this help kids have a pleasant experience heading into a potentially overwhelming time of year.

“It’s their first opportunity to meet Santa and it’s really important for them to have a positive experience during the Christmas holidays,” Neary explained. “There’s lots of laughter, lots of toys and some of the kids sit on Santa’s lap. Some just like to show Santa their toys, bring him items to see and it’s a lot of fun.”

Organizers say they host the event every year and seeing kids’ faces light up makes it worth it.

“This event started in 2019 and even though we are only able to reach a small number of families, making even one family’s Christmas is always worth it for us,” said Gareth Evans, the Government House programming services supervisor.

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