Some childhood Christmas traditions just aren't for every kid. Take for example, visiting Santa at the mall. Many children are thrilled at the very thought of seeing the jolly fellow; perhaps sitting on his lap, whispering their deepest Christmas wish secretly in his ear, maybe even having a picture taken with the overgrown holiday elf.

Other children are terrified of the guy and would rather get a flu shot than face the scary red-suited gnome. Even farther outside this childhood circle are autistic children who may love St. Nick but are frightened by the lights, loud noises and long lines that can be involved in a visit to a busy Christmastime mall. And forget about sitting on Santa's lap!

Holiday kudos then, go to The Caring Santa program organized by Autism Speaks. They have locations in malls in 120 cities around the country (unfortunately not here in Sioux Falls, yet). Families with autistic children can sign up for appointments to avoid the lines and the malls will usually have the Caring Santa sessions before the mall opens or after the stores in the malls close.

So many families who thought they'd never have the perfect Christmas card photo of their child with Santa are over-the-moon at the opportunity this event provides. Seeing the photographs or watching the video of this extraordinary Santa in action at a mall in Charlotte, North Carolina will warm your heart.

This gentleman totally gets it and does not wait for the little boy to come to him. He first puts a snow globe down for him to examine and then joins him on the floor to play. There is no rush and this family got to spend 20 minutes watching a true Christmas miracle occur.

Oh I know, Santa may not be the "reason for the season", but this remarkable kindness and generosity of spirit will remind you, what is.

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