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No spoken words necessary: The Deaf Santa brings Christmas joy

deaf santa web pic.png
Posted at 6:51 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 20:51:50-05

LITTLETON, Colo. — From shopping malls to holiday parties, a visit from Santa Claus is usually accompanied by a bellowing "Ho, ho, ho" and "Merry Christmas!" But not always.

“I’m completely deaf,” one of Santa’s helpers signed to Denver7’s Jason Gruenauer through an interpreter.

This Santa in particular, who goes by Todd Barker when he's not busy around Christmas, has been dressing in the red suit for the last four years, bringing holiday cheer to deaf children across the state.

“What do I bring? A top-quality, real deaf-on-deaf experience for kids that don’t get that anywhere else,” he signed.

One of the kids that receives an annual visit from this Santa is his 5-year-old daughter.

“My daughter is deaf and my daughter is the reason why I do this,” he signed.

Denver7 met up with The Deaf Santa on his way to make a home visit to a 9-year-old boy named Calvin, who is also deaf.

“He was born profoundly deaf. He hears nothing at all,” said Calvin’s mom Mindy Markley.

Once The Deaf Santa rang the doorbell, no spoken words were necessary between the two. They had a 15-minute conversation about what he wanted for Christmas, what list he was on this year, and more. The boy’s smile did not require any interpreter.

“It was almost magical watching Santa get on Calvin’s level and Calvin being able to express his wants and wishes without any filter,” Markley said. “It helps Calvin experience the same magic that other kids get. He gets to just believe for a little bit.”

And in case children have questions for The Deaf Santa about being deaf, he has the perfect answer ready.

“If they ask why I’m deaf and other Santas can hear, I can tell them that I am 1,750 years old and my hearing comes and goes. And some days I can hear and some days I can’t,” he signed.

To watch the interaction between Calvin and Santa, click on the video below. To learn more, visit The Deaf Santa's website here.