Former U.S. President Barack Obama took on a new high-profile role as Father Christmas on Wednesday for a surprise visit to sick children in Washington.

Sporting a festive Santa hat and armed with a sack of gifts, he delighted young patients at Children’s National hospital with gifts and hugs.

In a video he shared on his Twitter account, Obama was enthusiastically greeted by the hospital staff after playing Santa Claus.The former president even joined the group in singing the classic “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” before thanking them for their work. 

“As the dad of two girls, I can only imagine in that situation to have nurses and staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them, and just there for them, and holding their hands… that’s the most important thing there is,” he told the staff.

The 44th president still lives in the nation’s capital, where last year he dressed up as Santa to visit middle school students at a Boys & Girls Club.