COMMERCE (CBSLA) — The holiday shopping season is a time when kids and their families bask in the glow of Christmas lights and take in the constant din of cheerful music at all turns, but crowds, carols and the cacophony they create can be too much stimulation for some, especially children with special needs.
In consideration of them and their families, the Citadel Outlets in the City of Commerce is changing up the way they cater to their shoppers with the Santa Cares program.
Every Sunday until December 17, from 9 a.m. to noon, the Citadel will be turning down the music and turning off the lights in order to make the shopping experience more bearable for children with various disabilities.
That’s a welcome change for the mother of three-year-old Raulito, who is on the autism spectrum and was at the outlets with his family Sunday. Mom told CBS2, “Sometimes when it’s too bright, he gets a little overstimulated.”
“This is a really great thing for her,” another mother said of her daughter, who is deaf and blind.
The Citadel will also be using a reservation system and providing a quiet waiting area for families who would rather not wait in line to meet Santa. The big man in red will also be taking a little extra time to get to the special children’s Christmas lists.
“Some of them have challenging needs, and the brave parents come with them,” Santa told CBS2. “They’re my heroes! I just love, love Sunday morning in the Santa Cares program.”
People can reserve tickets at the Santa Cares Eventbrite page.
The Citadel Outlets are located at 100 Citadel Dr., Los Angeles, California 90040.