For children with sensory sensitivities, autism or other special needs, Christmas may not be the most wonderful time of the year.
A visit to sit on Santa’s lap may be scary for such children and frustrating for parents who want to give their kids a happy experience with such a time-honored tradition.
In hopes of giving those children and their families a more positive and memorable experience with Santa Claus, the Forsyth County Public Library will offer a Sensitive Santa program. It’s set for 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Hampton Park branch.
“We understand how challenging it can be for a child with sensory or other special needs to wait in line, be overwhelmed with noises, sounds and smells and then rushed to sit on the lap of a person they don’t know very well,” said Stephanie Hampson, youth services supervisor at the Hampton Park branch. “Many of those families have given up on a possibility that their children might have a positive experience meeting with Santa.
“The library offers those families an alternative to long lines, bright lights and noisy malls.”
Parents can sign their children up for a 10-minute session, which will give the child enough time to get familiar with Sensitive Santa and warm up to the idea of sitting on his lap or talking to him, rather than being rushed through the visit.
“When Santa visits the library, he’ll be using his best library behavior,” Hampson said. “Santa’s workshop will have dimmed lights, [and] he and his elves will move slowly and speak gently.
“Instead of waiting in line, families are welcome to bring snacks, and we will provide a space for crafts and drawing until it’s time to see Santa.”
The session is free, and all ages are invited to participate, the library said. Parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras and may take as many photos as they like during their visit.
For more information about the event, contact the Hampton Park Library at 770-781-9840 ext. 6709.
‘Tis the Season for Stories’
The library system also will play to host “Tis the Season for Stories” at each branch.
A holiday tradition, the storytime session will include several Christmas stories, a puppet show and merry music, according to the library.
The storytelling event will be held at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Dec. 16 in the Cumming Library.
Sharon Forks Library will have it at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Dec. 17.
Tis the Season for Stories will take place in the Hampton Park Library at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Dec. 19.
The Post Road Library will see hear the stories at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Dec. 20.
No registration is required, and all ages are welcome.
‘Polar Express’ parties
For the second year in a row, the library system will hold “Polar Express” events at each of its branches.
“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg will be celebrated with themed treats and crafts, and maybe even a visitor from the North Pole.
The parties, sponsored by FCPL Friends and Advocates, will be held at Sharon Forks at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 15.
Hampton Park will have the party at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
The Cumming Library will have the event at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18.
Post Road will welcome the event at 5:15 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22.
For more information about upcoming events, visit forsythpl.org.