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‘Sensitive Santa’ to greet children with special needs
More holiday events scheduled throughout December
Sensitive santa
“Sensitive Santa” events will be held at three of the four Forsyth County Public Library branches in the upcoming weeks, offering an easier and less stressful setting for kids to meet Old Saint Nick. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

With three-and-a-half weeks to Christmas, the Forsyth County Public Library is kicking off the holiday countdown this weekend with a “Sensitive Santa” event that will be held at the Post Road Library on Sunday.

Additional Sensitive Santa programs will be offered at the Hampton Park and Cumming libraries later in December.

Other noteworthy events include:

• Elf on the Shelf Welcome Celebration for preschool and elementary school children: Children can welcome back Jingles, the library Elf on the Shelf! The library will have a special storytime to bring him back from the North Pole with books, music and puppets, followed by crafts. Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11:15 a.m. at the Post Road Library.

• Adulting 101, meal planning: UGA Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Agent Barbara Worley will show attendees how to create a menu for the week and make meal planning less stressful. Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cumming Library.

• Navigating the Road to Publishing Your Novel with McCall Hoyle, author of “The Thing with Feathers:” Hoyle will share how she went from dreaming about writing to publishing her first novel with HarperCollins/Blink. A book signing will follow this event, which is intended for adults, but teens ages 16 and up may attend. Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the Hampton Park Library.

• Teen Holiday Craftopia: Choose from a variety of supplies and craft ideas to create holiday crafts. (Grades 6-12) Saturday, Dec. 16, 3-4:30 p.m. at the Cumming Library.

• The New Hampshire-based theater troupe Hampstead Stage Company will perform A Christmas Carol at the Cumming Library on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free and this shorter adaptation of the story is designed for ages 5 and up.

The event, which will run from 2-4:15 p.m. Dec. 3, is intended for children of all ages with sensory sensitivities or other special needs.

The event will provide a relaxed environment for participants to meet the Christmas figure.

“It can be overwhelming for a child with sensory or other special needs to visit with Santa at the mall or any crowded location where noises, sounds, and even smells are distracting,” said

Stephanie Hampson, Hampton Park Library’s youth services supervisor. 

“We understand how frustrating it can be for parents who want to help their child experience this magical part of the season, so we’re offering a low-sensory waiting area with a few activities, rather than asking families to stand in line. We’ll also keep the lights dimmed and Santa and his elves will be sensitive about touch and sound with each child.”

Families interested in the event can sign up for a 10-minute visit, giving children time to become comfortable with Santa, rather than being rushed through the visit, Hampson said. Parents and caregivers are also welcome to take photos during their family’s visit with Santa.

In addition to Sunday’s event, the Post Road Library will hold the Sensitive Santa event from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 and at the Cumming Library later that afternoon, from 1-3 p.m.

All three Sensitive Santa programs are free, but advance registration is required. To register, call (770) 781-9840, Ext. 9919.

In addition to the Sensitive Santa program, children will have the opportunity to meet Mr. Claus at seven Polar Express storytime programs in December.

The programs, which are sponsored by the FCPL Friends & Advocates, include a reading of The Polar Express and treats and other activities. At the end of each event, Santa Claus will appear for greetings and photos with the children.

The Polar Express storytimes are appropriate for all ages and will be held at the Cumming

Library at 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Hampton Park Library at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5 and Tuesday, Dec. 19 and at the Post Road Library at 3:15, 5 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22. 

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