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Sensitive Santas Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

Book your Santa encounter for your child with sensory needs

author Jessica Plesko

Published on: November 18, 2022

Sensitive Santa

Photos of your kids with Santa are a time-honored holiday tradition for many families. But the jingling bells, long lines and noisy crowds that are typical of many Santa photo sessions just don’t work for some families.

Luckily, there are lots of opportunities to meet with Santa in a kinder, gentler situation — with fewer other people, less noise and minimal hustle and bustle. Sensitive Santas make sweet holiday photos possible for families with sensory-sensitive kids, children on the autism spectrum or with other disabilities.

There are lots more typical Santa photo opportunities around town, but if you prefer Sensitive Santa, book soon, as appointment times fill up fast!

Sensory Sensitive Santa

Due to popular demand, the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse has added multiple sessions with their Sensory Sensitive Santa this year, giving families who need it a little more time in a dim, quiet, calm environment.

Location: The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse, Sumner
Dates: Saturdays, Nov. 26, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17, 9–11 a.m.
Book: Online. Appointments will be taken a week prior to each event. 
Cost: Free

Santa Cares

Alderwood Mall invites all children and adults with sensory needs and disabilities, to come to the mall before it opens for Santa pictures. The experience allows for extra time to get comfortable and is a quieter, less stressful environment. 

Location: Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood
Date: Sunday, Dec. 4, 9–10 a.m.
Book: Online; one ticket per family
Cost: Free to visit; optional photo packages available for purchase

Sensitive Santa

This Santa creates a sensory-friendly visit by welcoming guests with all types of sensory needs before center activities commence on a Sunday.

Location: The Outlet Collection, Auburn
Dates: Sundays, Dec. 4 and Dec.11; 10–11:30 a.m.
Book: Online; one ticket per family
Cost: Free to visit; optional photo packages available to purchase

Caring Santa

Caring Santa in Tacoma takes place before mall opening to reduce sensory stimuli. Register for your 15-minute appointment.

Location: Tacoma Mall, Tacoma
Date: Sunday, Dec. 4, 9–10:30 a.m
Book: Online; one ticket per family
Cost: Free to visit; optional photo packages available to purchase

Special Santa

The Can Do Initiative provides children with disabilities and their families one of three ways to visit Santa this year: in-person at Santa's Workshop, virtually or, get this, on your very own doorstep! In-person visits include a free professional photo. At-home visits are scheduled for areas in the Northshore and Lake Washington School Districts. (People outside of that area are encouraged to reach out to see if Santa is able to make a trip to your house). All participants will also receive a special craft activity box. 

Location: In person at 7910 N.E. 132nd Street, Kirkland, WA 98034, online or at your home.
Date: Saturday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Book: Online; one spot per family
Cost: Free

Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated for 2022.

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