Local Family Spends Every Christmas Morning with Hospice Patients
Santa can’t be everywhere. So sometimes he has some very special people filling in for him. Members of the Jindra family have taken turns donning a Santa suit and gathering up a dedicated group of “elves” to spread holiday cheer at medical centers in Cleveland every Christmas morning for the past 54 years, including the last 14 years at David Simpson Hospice House. They are carrying on a century-old family tradition started by his great-grandfather in 1916.
This year marked the 101st anniversary of the family’s Christmas morning tradition of giving back to others. It all began when multiple generations of the family began visiting patients at the former St. Alexis Hospital in Cleveland. When St. Alexis closed its doors, they “relocated” and began coming to David Simpson Hospice House, one of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s three inpatient care units. They have visited the hospice house on the shores of Lake Erie faithfully every Christmas morning for the past 14 years.
This year, the Jindra brothers were there once again bright and early. This year, it was Ed’s turn to be St. Nick while his brother Bill played the part of one of the elves. They and their dedicated group of volunteers - neighbors and friends of the family - made their rounds delivering flowers, candy canes, popcorn balls, fruit and fresh carnations to help brighten the day for hospice residents and visiting family members.
Even though the Jindra brothers are never at home Christmas morning to open gifts with their own families, they insist on keeping the tradition alive. They have discovered the true meaning of Christmas; that the real gift is in the giving. “We both love being here on Christmas morning,” Bill says with a twinkle in his eye. “We can’t imagine staying home and opening socks and underwear.”
Laurie Henrichsen, Media/Public Relations Manager, Hospice of the Western Reserve