CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Virginia’s Children’s Hospital are getting a holiday pick-me-up.

Santa Claus himself made an appearance at the hospital on Wednesday, December 19, to spread some Christmas cheer.

It can be a tough time of the year for families with sick children in the hospital, especially when it comes to family pictures.

That's why a group of doctors and nurses at the UVA hospital made Wednesday extra special for some families, and left them with a memory they can cherish forever.

“This day is a very special day,” Sonya Edwards, a mother of a patient at the hospital, said. “This is my daughter’s first Christmas holiday, we're in the NICU, and she's very special, all of the love that's been shown to her.”

Many families with children in the neonatal intensive care unit don’t get to have many festive moments during the holiday season.

“It means a lot, especially because my baby was just born and now she's in here,” Latoya Ricks, a mother of a patient, said. “It means a whole lot that I can see the memories back when she gets a little bit older.”

Santa Claus says it's always a great day when you can bring joy and cheer to families in the children’s hospital.

“Families are very, very happy, and even if you don't celebrate Christmas, we come in with other characters, and we bring gifts to the siblings of the children in the NICU, and people are very thankful because having a baby in the intensive care unit is very traumatic, and it just brings a little joy into their lives,” Santa Claus said.

Sounds of the season filled the halls to boost spirits until parents can tuck their kids into their own beds at home.

“It just warms my heart,” Edwards said. “So I've been taking plenty of videos and pictures while the crew was here, and I just can't wait to send them and share them with my family.”

“It means memories, a lot of memories, stuff we can look back on and embrace, and show that she made it through,” Dontaviaus Myrick, a father of a patient, said.

Santa says the cheers and happiness that this event brings to the hospital is something he truly loves.

He has been visiting the UVA Children's Hospital for over 30 years, and says he enjoys giving families a chance to get a picture with Santa for the holidays.