Signing Santa coming to Lacey

As most any child can tell you, Santa can speak every language. It’s one of his less flashy magical powers.

But children who are deaf or hearing-impaired might not share that view – unless they’ve met the Signing Santa.

“The children can visit with santa and communicate with him in their own language – sign language,” said John Hancock of the nonprofit Signing Santa Organization, which plans the event.

Each child who comes to meet Santa will receive photos of the visit and a gift from Toys for Tots. The event will also feature refreshments.

“It’s a nice celebratory atmosphere,” Hancock said.

“When I was a child, I remember going and sitting on Santa’s lap almost every year. This gives children a chance to be able to do that and talk to Santa themselves, without needing an interpreter.”

About 200 people came last year, and they weren’t just from Thurston County but from Mason and Pierce counties, too, said Jeannette Sieler, Lacey’s recreation supervisor. “It’s quite a far-reaching community.”

The program began in 1991, Sieler said, and continued till 2004, when the city committee that had organized it was disbanded.

It returned last year, this time organized by the local nonprofit Signing Santa Organization and produced in cooperation with Lacey’s Parks and

Recreation Department. Toys for Tots, local businesses and individual volunteers all help to make it possible.

“It’s our goal to make this an annual event for these special children,” Hancock said.