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santa claus

Santa hands a gift to a little girl.

It has to be incredibly frustrating to be a deaf child who can’t tell Santa exactly what they want for Christmas. That’s why a community’s work to ensure that Emily Andrews, 4, from East Yorkshire, England, had a British Sign Language (BSL) translator at a Santa event was so special.

A video shared by Southwest News Service shows Andrews speaking to Santa with the help of Melanie Boyeson, also known as Holly the Elf, who knows BSL. Through Boyeson, Emily could tell Santa that she wanted a doll, a stroller, earrings and a ring on Christmas morning.


"It was just a magical experience. Emily being able to communicate freely with the elf and tell Santa what she wanted was just amazing,” Tanya Ansrews, the girl’s mother, told SWNS.

Deaf girl meets Santa properly for first time - thanks to signing elf 🥰🎅🎁 | LOVE THIS

The moment was even more meaningful because on 4 occasions the family had been promised that a sign language worker would be present to help the young girl communicate with Santa, but it never worked out.

Emily’s brother goes to Airmyn Park Primary School, and when the head teacher, Natalie Dodd, heard about her struggles, she reached out to the community to find a translator for their school’s Santa event.

"Through the power of Facebook, we found Holly the Elf, whose real name is Melanie Boyeson, and she volunteered to visit our grotto and interpret for Emily," Dodds said. "Even though Emily isn’t a pupil here, she is part of our extended school family. As a small school, we are privileged to be able to embrace the wider school and village community, and we wanted to provide this experience for Emily."

Tanya told the BBC that there should be more holiday events with BSL interpreters for deaf children. “Everyone should be treated equally,” she said.

Family

New England mall's ingenious ‘Santa elevator' is a child’s Christmas fantasy come true

Natick Mall takes Santa visits to a whole other level with its magical "elevator" to the North Pole.

Visiting Santa at the Natick Mall is an otherworldly experience.

Visiting Santa Claus at the mall is a holiday tradition for countless American families, and it's usually a similar setup no matter where you go. You find the big display with the big Christmas decor, step into a long line of parents and kids ranging from giddy to terrified, wait for Santa's helper dressed in an elf costume to say it's your turn, then take pics of your kid telling a stranger in a Santa suit what they want for Christmas in an effort to give your kids a taste of holiday wonder.

But one mall in Massachusetts has upped the mall Santa bar so far it's above the clouds—literally.

The Natick Mall's "Magic Elevator Express" takes visiting Santa to a whole other magical level that even the Grinchiest of grownups can appreciate. And the idea is so brilliantly simple, it could be replicated just about anywhere.


A viral TikTok video from @natasha_luigui showing her son Kohen and his family taking the elevator as it rises up into the sky and over the clouds all the way to the North Pole is the kind of thing dreams are made of. Gears appear to move the elevator up, revealing a city stretching out below. Then the elevator soars higher, then takes off on a magical ride through the air until suddenly the North Pole appears and you end up right at Santa's front door. Then you ring the doorbell and wait.

Just watch:

People are raving about the Natick Mall's magical Santa elevator:

"OMG all my children are grown as hell but I wanna ride the Santa elevator express," wrote one commenter.

"Not me watching this entire clip with a smile on my face the whole time," wrote another.

"This brought me right back to my Christmas childhood magic and wonder," shared another. "I'd love to do this! He will never forget the time he traveled and met Santa."

"And I love that he can sit NEXT to Santa if he wants to and not be forced to sit on his lap," added another.

Here's a better view of what it looks like from the outside:

@ouulalaerica

Take a trip to go see santa through “The Magic Elevator Express” at Natick Mall! It was a great experience and our pictures came out great! Huge shout out to everyone working, they were awesome! #natickmall #natickmass #santa #magicelevatorexpress

It's amazing what some wood, paint and a little video technology can do. The screens create the illusion of going up and soaring through the magical sky, though the "elevator" remains on firm ground at the mall. Santa's "living room" is right there next to it the whole time, but the effect of the elevator experience transports kids into a magical fantasy. The simple, well-executed concept makes all the difference between a standard mall Santa visit and this journey tapped straight from a child's imagination.

Well done, whoever is behind this ingenious experience. You're giving kids and families holiday memories they'll never forget.

Family

Mom finds brilliant way to tell her kids the 'truth' about Santa and other parents take notes

If you're a parent struggling how to break the news, this might help.

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

How to tell your kids the truth about Santa.

"It's the mooost wonderful tiiiiime of the — OH NO, did Charlie just ask if Santa is real?!"

If you're a parent in a household that celebrates Christmas, you can likely relate to the dreaded Santa Claus conversation. It may come with tears, it may come with tantrums, and it may even be worse for you, seeing that heart-wrenching look of disappointment spread across your child's once-merry face.


It's a dilemma Charity Hutchinson of British Columbia was pondering, as a mom to two young boys and the two nephews she cares for as well.

family, advice, truth for kids

Hutchinson family and the truth about Santa.

Photo by Theresa Easter Photography.

One of Hutchinson's nephews raised the notorious question, telling her he no longer believed in Santa Claus.

"I felt sad because he seemed disappointed telling me his news," she explained in a message. "And in that moment I didn't know what to say to him."

Hutchinson soon stumbled upon some advice online, finding what she described as “by far the best idea I’ve seen about telling your kids about Santa."

The idea of Santa may seem frivolous to many adults, but to believe in something much bigger than yourself, only to learn you've been lied to by the people you trust most in the world? That can be a really big deal to a kid (and can possibly even create long-term trust issues for them, as one study found). The Santa conversation is one many parents understandably want to get right.

So when Hutchinson saw one of her friends on Facebook share an anonymous post detailing a strategy for breaking the news to your kids without disappointing them, she was thrilled.

Hutchinson loved the idea so much, she shared it on Facebook as well:

This is by far the best idea I've seen about telling your kids about Santa. Had to share! *********"In our family, we...
Posted by Charity Hutchinson on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This is how it works:

1. Find a time to take your kid out, one-on-one, to a favorite spot and deliver the great news: The time has come for them to become a Santa.

"When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready. I take them out 'for coffee' at the local wherever. We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made: 'You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too.'"

The post suggests pointing to a few different examples of how your kid has shown empathy or done something nice for another person throughout the past year. Let them know it was in those moments they proved themselves worthy of finally "becoming a Santa" themselves.

2. Assure your kid that they're ready to become a Santa because they understand the true meaning of giving (it's not just about the milk and cookies).

"You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that because they aren't ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE."

Get them talking about all the reasons they think Santa's the best. They may start out by pointing to his sleigh-riding skills or the fact he can go around the whole world in just one night. But move the conversation toward Santa being not so much of a cool person, but a cool concept that's focused on giving. Handing out presents makes the spirit of Santa a spectacular thing. Because your kid understands why giving back matters too, it's time they become a Santa themselves.

Also, "make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone," the post notes.

3. Now that they're in on the secret, have them choose someone who could really use a great gift and devise a plan to give it away — secretly, of course.

"We then have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child's mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn't about getting credit, you see. It's unselfish giving."

In the original post, the writer explains that their oldest child decided to buy a gift for a neighbor who always walked out to get the newspaper without her shoes on. Their son spied on the neighbor one day from the bushes to estimate her shoe size — he predicted she wore mediums — and then slipped a pair of slippers under her driveway gate one evening with a note "from Santa." The following morning, the neighbor was spotted wearing the slippers. Their son was ecstatic.

4. Remind them that being a Santa is top-secret business. And that, next year, they can carry on with their selfless Santa duties once again.

"I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did or he wouldn't be a Santa. Over the years, he chose a good number of targets, always coming up with a unique present just for them."

One year, for instance, he polished up a bike for a family friend's daughters. The writer's son was just as over the moon about giving the gift as the daughters were about receiving it.

In a little over a week, Hutchinson's post has racked up thousands of Likes and shares, with plenty of thankful parents chiming in in the comments.

"I never imagined it would be so popular!" Hutchinson explains. "I mean, it felt special when I read it and completely gave me goosebumps, but I didn't realize it would go this far."

Where the original post came from is still somewhat of a mystery. As The Huffington Post reported, it seems to have first cropped up in 2007 in an online forum. Ever since, the idea has floated around the web here and there, but has only made waves recently with Hutchinson's post going viral.

The secret of being a Santa, so to speak, has already worked its holiday magic on Hutchinson's once-suspicious nephew.

Filling him in on becoming a Santa was an instant game-changer, she says.

"His eyes lit right up," she writes. "That excitement and joy returned to him and he couldn't stop asking me questions! ... Instantly I could see the wheels were turning and he started planning who his special target would be and what he would get them and how he'd pull it off."

Hutchinson is happy her simple Facebook post has turned into something so special. "It isn't just a nice way to break the news to your kids," she writes. "But it really teaches them about the true meaning of Christmas and how you should always give to others."

This article originally appeared on 12.09.16

The Cumberland Police Department's evidence examination request.

A 10-year-old girl from Cumberland, Rhode Island, had serious questions about whether Santa Claus is real and submitted DNA evidence to her local police to get the truth. On the morning of December 25, 2022, Scarlett Doumato collected a partially eaten cookie and carrots with bite marks and sent them to the Cumberland Police Department for testing, along with a handwritten note.

“Dear Cumberland Police Dapartment [sic], I took a sample of a cookie and carrots that I left for Santa and the raindeer [sic] on Christmas Eve and was wondering if you could take a sample of DNA and see if Santa is real?” Doumato wrote.

Cumberland police chief Matthew J. Benson was impressed by the child’s dedication to solving the mystery. “For her to take that initiative and to push that forward because she has a question that she wants answered, I just think was amazing,” Benson told Today.

The police department shared a photo of Doumato’s evidence, her letter and a statement on Facebook.

letter, police

Doumato's handwritten letter to the police.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

Doumato’s work collecting evidence at the scene of the crime was impressive, to say the least. “She did the work — she collected the evidence, she tagged it the right way,” Benson said. “She’s obviously watching the shows very intently. Separate baggies. She did it right by the book, so we’re taking it just as serious as she is.”

Doumato submitted evidence bagged separately.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

The Cumberland Police Department announced that after seeing her evidence it has launched a special investigation into the Santa inquiry.

The department shared in its press release:

"Earlier this month, a young investigator from the Town of Cumberland submitted the attached letter requesting a DNA analysis be conducted on the partially eaten cookie and carrot remains she acquired on the morning of December 25, 2022, for possible DNA evidence of Santa Claus (aka, Kris Kringle, aka Saint Nicholas, aka St. Nick) and/or one of his nine reindeer. As such, Chief Benson immediately instructed his Investigative Division to forward her evidence to the State of Rhode Island’s, Department of Health–Forensic Sciences Unit for analysis. Chief Benson noted, 'This young lady obviously has a keen sense for truth and the investigative process and did a tremendous job packaging her evidence for submission. We will do our very best to provide answers for her.'"

The Cumberland Police added some additional evidence they collected on the night of December 24th. The most compelling evidence was a photo of a "reindeer" spotted in the area that night.

reindeer, deer

The Cumberland Police Department shared a "reindeer sighting" on Christmas Eve.

via Cumberland Police Department/Facebook

The girl’s mother was excited to see the police were taking her daughter’s inquiry seriously. “A giant thank you Chief Benson and the entire CPD! My Scarlett is going to be so thrilled that you are looking into her case!!!!!” Alyson Doumato wrote in the comments.

WJAR caught up with the young detective and learned that she has a Wacky Lab home detective kit sitting on her desktop. "I watch crime shows, and I thought it was like cool to be a detective,” she told the news outlet.

Her mother said that the investigation is just part of her nature. “She's always a little bit skeptical, and looking for the facts,” Alyson Doumuto said.

The open case is still being pursued by the Cumberland Police Department.