The holiday season can be joyful and alive with energy. But for some, it can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. Businesses around the Twin Cities are doing their part to create holiday experiences where People within every spectrum of special needs and their families can feel safe and welcome. Santa visits, holiday performances, and more have set aside times for inclusive atmospheres so that all children have an opportunity to experience the magic of the season.
Santa Cares at Crossroads Center: November 23 | All Day People within every spectrum of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa.
Caring Santa at Southdale Center: December 4 | 9:00 am Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their photo taken with him. We will make the necessary adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event.
Santa Cares at Ridgedale Center: December 4 | 9:00 am Visit Santa in a sensory-friendly environment. Celebrate Santa Magic in an inclusive atmosphere. Exclusively for children & families with special needs. Reservations are required for this private photo experience. We’re collecting donations on behalf of Autism Speaks.
Sensitive Santa at Northtown Mall: December 4 | 8:00 am Children with special needs and their families are invited to attend a private photo session where extra care is taken to support the sensory, physical, and other developmental needs of children. Please RSVP by December 2nd. Walk-ins welcome!
A Christmas Story – Sensory-Friendly Performance at Lakeshore Players Theater: December 3 | 7:30 pm This sensory-friendly performance is intended to be sensitive to and accepting of any audience member who may benefit from a more relaxed environment. Open to all patrons, it is intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory sensitivities including anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, learning differences, or challenges attending the theater. Some modifications will be made to the performance, which may include reducing the volume of loud noises and effects, eliminating strobe lights, keeping the house lights on, and allowing patrons to make noise & move in the audience as needed. In addition to making adjustments onstage and in the theater, the lobby will include quiet areas, and staff will assist patrons to enjoy an open, welcoming, accessible environment.
Holiday Trolley on Como Harriet Streetcar Line: December 4 | 9:00 am – 11:00 am | All aboard! For neurodiverse folks, family, and friends – holiday trolley event. Meet Chanukah Charlie, learn to play dreidel, grab gelt, and say hi to Santa’s helper Auntie Leah!
The Snowy Day – Sensory Friendly Performance at Stepping Stone Theater: December 10 | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | The wonder of a fresh snowfall, the delight of whistling for the first time, the awe in finding a special treasure comes to life in The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats. This story celebrates the joy in the seasons of a child’s world. This new ensemble-driven production will explore connections to water and the changing of the seasons through movement and storytelling.