For many children, having a photo taken with Santa as they share their Christmas wish list is a magical part of the festive season.
But for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, being able to communicate with their local shopping centre Santa can prove an issue.
This Monday, December 11, an Auslan-signing Santa will visit Dapto Mall so these children can speak to him and tell him everything they hope for this Christmas as they get their photos taken.
Deaf Connect acting chief executive officer Isabelle Swanston said language like Auslan was how people accessed a "full, rich, beautiful" community and to have that community be wider - and to be able to celebrate Christmas with them, if they did - was important.
"I just don't think the importance of that and the magic of that can be underestimated," Isabelle said.
While they said they could not speak to others' experiences, Isabelle said they imagined there would be challenges for Auslan signers when they went out into the community and not everyone could engage.
But they said that it was "really, really special" when someone made the effort to learn some Auslan because it showed "people value you for who you are".
Cordeaux Heights resident Anna Wearne said her son Finn, 2, was very excited to learn that Santa would be signing to him.
"I think it's just a fantastic initiative, because it provides inclusivity," Anna said.
Dapto Mall will donate $20 from every booking to Deaf Connect, which provides services to and advocates for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Isabelle described this as a "beautiful gesture" that would make a real difference for deaf people, helping the organisation address service gaps.
They said aged care and youth were two areas where there were limited supports and services available.
"It's really exciting to see more places, especially larger corporate organisations, take the initiative to do things like this for their community," Isabelle said.
Dapto Mall centre manager Lachlan Crowl said it would be the first time the centre had had a Santa who could sign Auslan.
"Christmas is such a special time of year for families, and we are thrilled to make the magical Santa experience more accessible and inclusive to all of our customers at Dapto Mall," Lachlan said.
More information on booking is available here: https://www.daptomall.com.au/what-s-happening
Meanwhile, Shellharbour City Council's Carols by Candlelight at the Croom Road Sporting Complex this Friday, December 8 will have Auslan interpreters to sign the event.