Santa Claus uses sign language to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing children

Deaf and hard of hearing children had the opportunity to visit and communicate with Santa Claus using American Sign Language (ASL) at Gaylord National Resort in Fort Washington, Maryland on December 12.

“The Washington, DC region has one of the highest concentrations of deaf and hard of hearing people in the nation,” a spokesperson for the event told Storyful.

“Often deaf children cannot fully interact with Santa Claus and enjoy the holiday season. In the context of [the Gaylord Nation Resort’s] commitment to diversity and inclusion, they were honored to be able to give these children the opportunity to communicate with Santa Claus in their own language and to provide interpreters for the shows so that families could have the complete holiday experience.

Footage released by the resort shows Deaf Santa Charles interacting with children and families ASL. In a short interview, she says her Christmas wish is for all deaf children to have equal access. Credit: Gaylord National Resort via Storyful

Video transcription

The Gaylords were very brave to bring us here. They made it happen. That children will have access to deaf Santa Claus. It means a lot to me. i feel overwhelmed. It’s hard to describe. It really touches my heart. I am honored to be here and grateful to Gaylord for being here with us.

My Christmas wish, I want all the children in the community around the world, in the United States, to have access to everything we can do. You know, we’re just equal, no more than, no less than, equal access just like a young person. I want to make young people happy and this is my Christmas wish.


Happy Christmas. Don’t forget my cookies.


It’s beautiful.


Here, do we have one to see?


Oh yes.




Oh sure.

How did we miss that.


(SINGING) Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.



INTERPRETER: Oh. It’s… having a deaf Santa here is great. Growing up, I didn’t have access to communication when I saw Santa. So I would come to see Santa Claus. And to see this being deaf and using American Sign Language and allowing my son to communicate directly is just amazing. And he can really sit there and talk and laugh and tell stories and really connect with Santa. And when I saw him, he moved me.

INTERPRETER: This is very significant to our community and our deaf families and children who are developing their deaf identity. Being able to come out at a mainstream event and have a strong Deaf identity, proudly using their first language, American Sign Language, is very important to this event today. And it should be something yearly, especially in the DC area because DC is known as America’s Deaf Mecca. So it would be perfect as a place to host those deaf Santas, because we have Gallaudet University so close.

INTERPRETER: This is a real experience where the play is included. And it’s a real experience, as it should be. Too often deaf people go to events, like Santa Claus pictures, and there’s no connection. A connection is vital. It’s not there. But nowadays, the connection is there. And that’s what I really want to tell my friends about.

Goodbye. Happy Christmas. Happy Christmas.

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