Santa and Mrs. Claus visited NICU babies and their families on Christmas to bring good tidings and brighten spirits. Santa is Dr. Rob Sinkin and Mrs. Claus is registered nurse Naomi Rademeyer. Rob has visited the NICU as Santa for the past 15 years here at UVA (since he arrived in 2006) and for 36 years total!
This annual event started with a simple visit from Santa and has grown over the years. Last year, there was Santa, Mrs. Claus, several elves, Frosty the Snowman, and a Christmas tree. This year, like everything else, presented itself with some challenges – we wanted to proceed with the event safely with appropriate protective equipment. We decided on a limited event, just with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (Both had masks and eye protection and there was no handling of the infants.)
Every family received a picture of their child with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Families were thrilled to have the opportunity to have their baby’s first Christmas celebrated with a visit from Santa – something that was unexpected being in the NICU during a pandemic.
A note from Santa: “It has been my great pleasure and honor to serve as a seasonal symbol of hope, warmth, and peace for the families cared for in our NICU. Most of the babies will leave the hospital and have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with their families for years to come. For some less fortunate, this single photo event becomes a treasured momento. Although 2020 and COVID-19 introduced some challenges, staff rallied to ensure that this annual tradition would proceed and my cap is off to them in thanks for their enthusiastic participation.”
Special thanks to Carrie Coleman Photography for donating her time and efforts to provide us with photos.
Filed Under: Features