Santa Clause, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle. In Quota countries around the world, we all understand the magic of Santa. The tradition of telling Santa what you would like for Christmas is known to children around the world.
But not everyone can actually speak to Santa. Signing Santa is a long-standing tradition which allows deaf children to experience the excitement of Santa, just like other children do. Many Quota communities around the world host Signing Santa events. Two of them are Sioux City, Iowa, in the U.S., and Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean. Thanks to them, many more children can sit on Santa’s lap without having to worry about the language barrier.
Sioux City Quotarians host their Signing Santa event annually, and each year they are filled with a sense of joy and excitement when the event unfolds.
Hard-of-hearing and deaf students spend a morning visiting Santa (who is also deaf) and signing their wish-list. Seeing their smiles as they meet Santa is what makes this annual event so meaningful to members and parents alike. Students get to make Christmas crafts and the ever-popular ‘slime’ and enjoy a Santa cookie. They also get to visit Santa’s Gift Shop, where they search for that special gift for a loved one (or even for themselves!).
Spending time together is special for all the children. Often each is the only deaf student in her or his school, so being able to spend time with other kids who share their hearing challenges makes the event especially sweet for all.
Three thousand miles away…..
Quota International of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) jointly hosted its inaugural Signing Santa event in collaboration with its strategic partner, the Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired (TTAHI).
From inception, Quota T&T envisioned its Signing Santa event to become a staple on its yearly calendar. This heart-warming affair was designed to exude the Christmas spirit and to bring holiday cheer to the children in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Santa’s arrival on a truck with flashing red lights in the dark with only the lighted tree created a major WOW factor! The huge smiles on the children’s faces were priceless. More importantly the children were overjoyed that Santa was deaf and communicated with them using sign language. Happy children confided their Christmas wishes to Santa and sat on his lap to receive their presents.
Of all the events Quota T&T hosted in 2018, the Signing Santa project holds a special place in the hearts of its members. The club was especially grateful for the outpouring of love they received from individuals, companies and club members who generously donated toys and stockings filled with goodies, food and beverages, entertainment, event management and décor services, sound system, and much more!
Special thanks go to Tamme Saul, President, Quota International of Sioux City, and Michelle Low Chew Tung, President, Quota International of Trinidad and Tobago, for sharing information regarding their Signing Santa programs and for making the holidays a little brighter for deaf and hard-of-hearing children around the world.