Barack Obama dons Santa hat to surprise hospitalized kids with gifts

A Santa hat-clad Barack Obama made spending the holidays in the hospital a little cheerier on Wednesday when he surprised young patients and staff at Children’s National hospital.

The former president, whose love of interacting with kids was pretty obvious throughout his time in office, brought jigsaw puzzles, toy car sets, remote-control cars, glittery nail polish and other gifts to the Washington, D.C., hospital, The Washington Post reported. 

“As a dad of two girls, I can only imagine in that situation ― to have nurses and staff and doctors and people who are caring for them and looking after them and listening to them and just there for them and holding their hand ― that’s the most important thing there is,” Obama told the crowd of hospital staff assembled around the nurses’ station. “What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be all about.”

He later tweeted out his gratitude to hospital staff, patients and visitors for humoring him as their “stand-in Santa.”

Last week, first lady Melania Trump visited the same hospital to read a Christmas book to children and promote her anti-bullying campaign. 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Melania Trump unveils first Trump Christmas White House
US First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump walks through the Grand Foyer as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump throws a Christmas ornament as she makes garland with children in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump watches a ballet performance in the Cross Hall as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump watches ballerinas perform in the Grand Foyer as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump makes Christmas garland with children in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump hugs children in the East Room as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump makes garland with children in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump makes Christmas decorations with children in the State Dining Room as she tours holiday decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump watches ballerinas perform in the Grand Foyer as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump speaks with children as they make holiday decorations in the Green Room as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump speaks with children as they make holiday decorations in the Green Room as she tours Christmas decorations at the White House in Washington, DC, November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump greets schoolchildren as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump greets schoolchildren as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump high-fives a schoolchild making Christmas crafts, as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S. November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump greets schoolchildren as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump (bottom, R hand) makes craft projects with school children as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S. November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump greets school children as she tours the holiday decorations with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S. November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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