For most kids, getting a picture with Santa Claus is pretty straightforward. You head to the mall, wait in line, and when it’s your turn, you sit on Santa’s lap and smile for the camera. But for kids with special needs, it isn’t that simple.
That’s why Tennessee mom Alison Epps took her 6-year-old son James to an event at Restoration Community Church specifically designed for children with special needs. And although his photos with Santa are a bit unconventional, she thinks they turned out “pretty perfect.”
James was born at just 22 weeks and 6 days, an experience Epps detailed on her blog. Although she spent all week prepping him for his visit with Santa and it was his second time attending, he become overwhelmed when it was time to meet the jolly man.
"At one point he was under the Christmas tree," Epps told ABC News. "But Santa got right down on the floor to see if he could make James more comfortable."
And that’s when event photographer Jennifer Arnwine snapped a few pics. Arnwine said Santa engaged James by telling him all about his reindeer and asking him to help ring his bells. That is one special Santa!
"I love watching children who come in terrified change in just 10 minutes," Arnwine said. "It's a beautiful event."
As for Epps, she’s just thankful Arnwine was on-hand to capture the moment in such an authentic way.
"It's exactly who James is right now,” she said proudly.