TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Santa Claus made a special visit Thursday morning to meet students at the University of Alabama Rise Center. Jolly old Saint Nick took the time to greet as many children as possible as part of the school’s holiday celebration.

Rise Director Andi Gillen says Santa visited classrooms, took pictures with students and handed out gifts to spread Christmas cheer.

“I think it means everything to our families, our children and staff,” Gillen said. “It’s just magical the way their faces light up and everybody smiles. It’s the spirit of Christmas.”

Santa makes a trip down from the North Pole every year to visit the adorable and sweet special needs students at the Rise Center.