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Brett Flannery says "Santa Cares" gave his family the opportunity to do something most people get to enjoy normally.

"This event allowed us to really control some of those things, so we dimmed the lights, we had this event before the mall opened to keep the crowds down", said marketing director of CherryVale Mall Melissa Cavanagh. That tradition of taking a picture with Santa is sometimes easier said than done.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but with the holiday season it can also mean a lot of hustle and bustle at the mall, especially for families with special needs children. "We've actually started very early this morning, so that we could see those children".

"He doesn't like crowds and he needs a little bit calmer", said Flannery.

"His attitude and his reaction right now, the mood he's in is because of this, you know?" said Smith. "And without this event, my son would never get to speak to Santa like other children" says Wardlow. "It would just be something that we wouldn't do and we 'd miss out on".

Parent Melody O'mary says, "every year we come, Aaliyah's very distracted and she can't focus with everybody in line".

Breanne Hartfield, a parent, says she found out about the event through Facebook and couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"It makes it doable", said Smith".

Clark was able to set up an appointment and get his son in to visit Santa within a couple of minutes, much different than a visit during regular mall hours.

In all, about thirty families were able to take pictures with Santa during Sunday's event.


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