CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Not everyone can make it home for the holidays, especially those who may be in the hospital or in a nursing home.
While many were gathered around the tree on Christmas morning, one group of people were already at work to spread holiday cheer to those in Chatham County. Mysterious Santa, and his group of helpers, visited every hospital and nursing home across the county.
Their goal: To make sure no one spends Christmas alone.
"What we're trying to do is make sure everybody has a visitor on Christmas who are in the hospital. Try to bring a little love, a little peace, and maybe even a little kindness. Try to touch people," said Mike Wilson, with Mysterious Santa.
Old Saint Nick and his group of elves delivered gifts and fresh fruit to each patient and resident. They say there's no other way they'd rather spend the holiday.
"It's the greatest way to spend Christmas that I've found. It's family, it's a way to make sure that everyone gets some loving, that they know that they're cared for. That to me makes all the difference," said the Mysterious Santa Claus.
The tradition is over a hundred years old, started by a man named Eugene Smith. No one visited him during his stay, and he decided that he didn't want that to happen to anyone else.
While the tradition continues to grow by including more hospitals and homes, so does the number of volunteers.
"Each year that we do it there are more and more people, I know that there are more and more elves, more helpers. It's been great. It's growing, and everyone enjoys it. They feel good about going out and seeing people on Christmas morning and making sure they have someone there," said Santa.
"Just to bring a smile to them, just to let them realize all is not lost, it's going to get better hopefully. It doesn't always happen that way, but hopefully, it will," said Wilson.
The Mysterious Santa project is funded solely by contributions from those who keep their identity a secret.