Jolly Old Saint Nick paid a special visit to patients at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio on Monday and helped light the hospital’s tree.

“This is a really easy way for us to bring a lot of joy and happiness to the kids and to see Santa a full month before he's going to be delivering gifts is really exciting,’ said Justin Olsen, administrative assistant at the hospital.

Sylvia Benavidez, whose grandson is a leukemia patient, says the annual event is a nice distraction from the challenges children face.

“They don’t get to spend time outside and do a lot of things so this is very special to them,” she said.

The patients helped decorate the hospital’s Christmas tree with ornaments made by each department. They also sat on Santa’s lap and told him what they wish for Christmas.

Santa flipped the switch to light the tree.

“We all come to work every day because of the children and opportunities- like today to bring joy and happiness to the children- are I think why we’re around,” Olsen said.

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