Charles Graves, aka Deaf Santa, and Gally the Bison

Deaf Santa Claus visited Gallaudet University on Sunday, December 11. He made a surprise appearance at the women’s basketball game between Gallaudet and Trinity Washington University. Santa, accompanied by Gally the Bison, greeted families and children at halftime. He stayed to watch the Bison pick up their first win of the season, 74-65.

Deaf Santa also greeted deaf children and their families the next day at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor. Several media outlets covered his visit.

Deaf Santa in real life is Charles Graves, 52, of New Braunfels, Texas. Graves is a residential counselor at Texas School for the Deaf. He has been doing Santa appearances for the last four years. This year, Graves became the first deaf graduate of the International University of Santa Claus. 

Deaf Santa has been featured in two city holiday parades, in Santa Paula, California and Lockhart, Texas. A documentary film is being made about him. This film is directed by Ben Shelton and produced by John Maucere, E-’87

Deaf Santa was scheduled for his Gallaudet and Gaylord National appearances, as well as other visits earlier in the holiday season, by CHILMARKeting, an Austin-based full-service marketing agency “specializing in communicating brand and organizational values.” For more information, visit

Associated Press story

Inside Edition


Deaf Santa Claus sits with several children at the women’s basketball game against Trinity Washington University on December 11 in the Field House.

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