CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Seniors at Illini Heritage Nursing Home got a very merry Christmas surprise Thursday night.

Santa and his elves brought in presents for almost 60 people. The room was packed with people waiting to find out what was underneath the Christmas tree and this year everyone made the nice list.

Normally kids get the attention at Christmas time. But on Thursday night, these seniors were the center of this holiday celebration.

Jodi Eeten says, “We make sure every single resident at this nursing home is adopted. They have Christmas gifts to open and we get a wish list from the nursing home in advance.” She’s the secret Santa behind the whole operation. For 18 years, she’s collected presents for these seniors. This year they  gave out everything from clothes and shoes to bingo prizes. For many, it was more than bows and wrapping paper.

Eeten says, “A lot of these residents don’t have families who are going to be giving them gifts. Sometimes the things we bring are the only things they open.”

Carol Wisdom opened her gift to find a ring just her size. She says, “I’ll tell you what, getting gifts like this from someone I don’t even know warms my heart.”

Smiles filled the room, especially for Emma Adams. She could hardly find the words to say thank you for her new pajamas. Just in case she wears them out, Eeten will be back next year with more gifts to give.

She’s always looking for more people to adopt a senior. If you want to be a part of this holiday tradition you can email her