‘Santa’ Delivers Joy in Visit to Marquis Hope Village

Santa Claus has a fairly well-known gig: It’s his job to visit all the children of the world during the Christmas holiday, bringing gifts and cheer. But it’s not only children’s faces that the Jolly Old Elf enjoys bringing smiles to, as demonstrated by an event at Marquis Hope Village last week.

The Canby long-term care facility hosted “Canby’s Santa” (also known as local resident Ed Grautski) for a photo session, hot cocoa, carols and a holiday light walk-or-wheel-through at their annual Christmas event Thursday night, also inviting staff and family members to visit with Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus (Judy Grautski).

The event was a slightly expanded sequel to last year’s event, a purely walk-through light display that replaced the more traditional bus tours that residents would have been able to enjoy before Covid-19.

Photos by Tyler Francke.

“We started this so the residents could have a little joy at home because we weren’t able to do too much over the past couple of years,” explained Courtney Hohensee, Marquis Hope Village marketing coordinator. “Having the display here on campus so they can walk through, they can see it from their rooms. It’s cheerful, it’s bright, and we just wanted to bring a little fun to them after everything they’ve been through.”

Despite the chill in the air around them (the visit had to take place outdoors due to Covid-19 protocols), there was no mistaking the joy or the way the residents’ faces lit up in the presence of the man himself.

“Every year, it is just so incredible to see how happy the residents are seeing Santa again,” Hohensee said. “A hundred years old or more, it doesn’t matter, you know? We have residents ranging from 70 to 101, and all of them just light up when they see Santa.”

Photos by Tyler Francke.

The experience seemed to also make an impact on Santa, who said he hopes to make a connection with everyone he visits — regardless of age.

“It’s what people need at Christmastime,” Grautski said. “That’s why I do this. If I can add something, make somebody smile, give somebody hope, it’s well worth it. This is one of my favorite places to come, and it’s a reward for me.”

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Photos by Tyler Francke.

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