What started as a community outreach initiative five years ago has evolved into a treasured holiday tradition for the staff of the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The hotel recently teamed up with Tammy Kern, of Paper Doll Promotions, for a special pageant that delighted the patients and staff at Children’s Hospital. The kids were treated to a Royal Teddy Bear Tea with all the trimmings.

The morning began with a second-line parade through the hospital led by Santa himself and Mrs. Claus. Childhood fantasies came to life as the Sugar Plum Fairy Princess, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and the Royal Teddy Bear danced and sang along the parade route with the children joining in the merry procession.

The hospital’s auditorium was transformed into a festive tearoom complete with beautifully decorated Christmas trees and holiday balloons for each child.

Once inside, Mrs. Claus beckoned the children to gather near her as she regaled them with classic holiday tales like “The Night Before Christmas.”

At least for a little while, these young patients were simply children enjoying the magic of the holidays with their families.

On hand for the tea party was the Royal Sonesta Hotel’s general manager, Alfred Groos, who said he has missed only one hospital visit in the past five years.

“Watching the faces of these kids light up this way warms my heart,” he said.

The party would not be the same without the generous participation of Tammy Kern and Paper Doll Promotions. Kern donates all of the characters for the annual visit to the hospital.

As the event wound down, each child left the party with a goody bag filled with holiday cookies and gifts that included their very own cuddly Royal Teddy Bear.

Initiatives such as this one express the true spirit of what we celebrate as a community.

To learn more about the mission of Children’s Hospital, visit http://www.chnola.org.

Happy holidays, everyone!

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The Advocate New Orleans Community News Section. Email information on your community event to robertagrove@hotmail.com.