BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Christmas traditions come in all shapes and sizes: home with family, together with friends. However, a lot involved brightening the lives of others with a gift or just a song, and for some, it's not Christmas until you make a joyful noise.
"Singing to me is just a great expression of friendship and emotion," said Catherine Boston. "You can say so many things with music you can't otherwise."
Since she was a little girl, Boston has spent her holiday evenings caroling with a large group. It was a tradition her mother actually began in high school.
This year Boston is back caroling down the same halls she walked as a child. They happen to be the same halls where she now works as a pediatric specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.
"I grew up coming here and I've watched the hospital grow and grow and have the opportunity to come back here, now I bring my kids and my family and my friends to sing for the patients that I take care of," said Dr. Boston.
A hospital is not somewhere you'd expect to find the sights and sounds of the season, but OLOL staff members and volunteers take pride in their practice of bringing a little Christmas into every room.
Many help patients decorate their rooms. Wreaths and trees and the occasional Santa hat can be spotted throughout the hospital. And then there are the caroler, a group of doctors, staff, volunteers, family and friends who roam the hospital floors belting out seasonal favorites.
On the pediatric floor of the OLOL Children's Hospital, the festive scenes are especially important for kids away from home during the holidays.
"It may not be their normal Christmas routine, but we make them new routines here at the hospital," said child life specialist Patty Prentice.
Prentice said volunteers, visitors, crafts and decorates help brighten the spirits of patients. On Christmas Eve, Santa even makes deliveries to every child.
Of course, Santa gets some help from generous community donors who bring by extra presents. What Santa doesn't use the hospital staff uses throughout the year to help their youngest patients celebrate birthdays or special milestones, like a final chemotherapy treatment.
"It just helps raise their spirits and lets them know that even though they're in the hospital people still care about them and want to make sure they have the best Christmas they can," said Boston.