For many kids seeing Santa is one of the joys of the holiday season. But for children with special needs — that experience can turn out to be more stressful than fun if they are forced to meet Santa in a busy environment.

On Sunday, kids with special needs had a chance to enjoy Santa’s company their own way.

Santa stopped by the Hudson Valley mall before it officially opened for business, so that kids could tell him their wishes without the hustle and bustle of shoppers.

Parents say it was a great experience for their children. They also said the event is helpful for them because they get to receive support from other family members who understand their journey.

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