JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — In a few days, many will be settling onto the couch to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and wait on Thanksgiving dinner, but some local families don’t have the privilege of spending the holiday at home. That’s not lost on the staff at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, so they brought their holiday cheer to their young patients.

Costumed characters, staff and even Mr. and Mrs. Claus gathered outside of the hospital first thing Tuesday morning. The group made a few laps outside as children watched the parade from their windows. Then the crew made their way inside to greet children directly at their doors — much to the delight of kids and parents.

“We loved it,” said Kristie Delmar. “It was wonderful. We appreciate everybody doing it.”

This marked the return of a tradition for the first time since 2019 that hospital leaders said isn’t just fun for them but makes a difference to their patients and families.

“This is dedicated to our children who are in the hospital,” said Chris Jett, Niswonger Children’s Network CEO. “We have children in our ICUs, and in our patient floors, we have cancer patients in our St. Jude clinic; all of them are being able to participate today.”

Many of the balloons and mascots are recognizable to the public, but there were many faces that the kids and parents recognize from their time at Niswonger.

“Participating in the parade is our staff, our pediatric staff, some of our ancillary support our managers, some of our physicians, really all the people that are dedicated to taking care of these children,” said Jett.

That dedication from the staff brought joy directly to the children’s rooms.

“Any and all little, little bright spot little something to make you smile means a lot,” said Delmar.