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Santa visits families at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings

Posted at 9:34 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 23:34:15-05

Santa Claus showed up to celebrate some of Montana's tiniest patients and their parents who have to spend Christmas in the hospital.

He visited the St. Vincent Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in Billings on Thursday afternoon.

As the babies build up strength before they can go home, they took their first photos with Santa.

Santa, who also calls himself Kris Kringle, said he has been cheering up families at the St. Vincent NICU for more than two decades.

"Wouldn't trade it for nothing," Santa said. "I mean look at this. it doesn't get any better than that. No, it doesn't."

It's also a special time for the families.

"It's been hard being in NICU with Christmas next week," said Shaelyn Wood, mother of Hezekiah, who was born Dec. 3. "But just the little bit of sunshine helped. He was legit. He was the real Santa.

She's appreciative of those working in the NICU.

"They've definitely gone above and beyond for the famillies," Wood said. "They definitely make the holidays and the NICU stay a lot easier."

"Pretty impressive," said Santa. "These are some good folks right here."

Santa that over the last 25 years, as some of the NICU babies have grown, they've brought their infant photos along and visited.