A lot of people will be unwrapping gifts from family and friends this Christmas, but not everyone gets that opportunity.
That’s why a program is aiming to make the holidays a little better for a certain group of people.
Christmas isn’t what it used to be for Wilbert Nelson.
“Your life really changes when you move, especially when you get older and your wife passes away and you’re all of a sudden a single person and your children are all grown up and married and have their own lives,” Sunnycrest Retirement Village Resident Wilbert Nelson said.
The 79-year-old old now lives at Sunnycrest Retirement Village in Sioux Falls.
Fortunately, some holiday cheer followed him thanks to a program called Be a Santa to a Senior.
You can buy a special gift for a senior simply by picking a paper ornament off of one of the trees set up all around town.
The trees hold a wide variety of gift suggestions, including fruit baskets and slippers.
“First couple of years I think I got throw blankets, which were really comfy in the winter and this last year I got a variety of coloring books,” Nelson said.
The program is put on by Home Instead Senior Care.
Owner Jason Valder says about 700 seniors will get presents this year.
“Christmas has always been, seems to have always been for kids, but a lot of times we find some of the seniors in our community get forgotten,” Home Instead Senior Care Owner Jason Valder said.
It’s helping people like Nelson relive what Christmas used to be.
“To have Santa come and refresh those memories is really a joy and a blessing,” Nelson said.
Nelson re-married this year.
If you want to be a Santa to a senior, you can find the trees at Fireplace Professionals on 41st Street in Sioux Falls and these Lewis stores in Sioux Falls:
37th St. & Minnesota Ave.
41st St. & Marion Road
26th St. & Sycamore Ave.
69th St. & Louise Ave.
10th St. & Cliff Ave.
12th St. & Kiwanis Ave.