A young pediatric patient receives a Minnie Mouse doll from Santa Claus.
Santa started the holiday season off with a holly jolly visit to pediatric patients at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Patients had the time of their lives when a giant auditorium was transformed into Santa’s Workshop, complete with holiday decorations, music and treats.
Patients arrived at Santa’s Workshop one by one in hospital gowns and pajamas, excitedly anticipating the moment Santa would make his grand entrance. While waiting, the children visited various activity stations throughout the event, each sponsored by volunteers from different organizations.
Children were able to design and decorate their own gingerbread houses with the help of chefs from Rossmoor Pastries, who taught patients ways to pipe icing. Kids also let out their inner artist by doing arts and crafts with the Signal Hill and Long Beach Police Departments. Other organizations in attendance included the Make a Wish Foundation, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Assistance League of Long Beach, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary, Coach Art and more.
When Santa and his sleigh bells arrived at the event, patients lined up, IV poles by their sides, for a chance to meet their holiday hero. One at a time, each child sat on Santa’s lap for a private discussion of this year’s Christmas wish list, and many were overwhelmed to receive surprise presents from St. Nick, himself.
Santa also made time to visit and deliver presents to patients at their bedside who were unable to attend the event. The gifts were donated by the various organizations in attendance, including Turner Construction, the company that built Miller Children’s inpatient pavilion.
The event provided fun holiday entertainment for pediatric patients of all ages. Mayra Lozano, mother of 6-year-old pediatric patient, Jason, expressed the joy events like Santa’s Workshop bring to patients and their families, saying, “It’s awesome. It’s really nice that different organizations take the time to give back to the community. Many of us parents and our kids are stuck in the hospital for hours, days, weeks and even months. It’s nice to get away and have a distraction – I’m so thankful for events like this.”
Children left with smiles on their faces, presents in their arms and the realization that they’ve met the one-and-only Mr. Claus in their memories.