Christmas is always a good time to remember that you’re never too busy to steal a couple of hours to reach out and make a difference in people’s lives. This is always true among the dedicated Culture of Caring teams across the country and around the world at Sonesta. And it was especially true in New Orleans one sunny day in December.

Regional managers had traveled to the city to help put the final touches on the new Sonesta ES Suites New Orleans. There was a lot to do, and everyone pitched in like busy elves to position furniture in guest rooms, set up the lobby, train the very excited newly hired staff, and more.

But there was another task on this very long to-do list—and it felt far more important than making sure furnishings were aligned “just right.” So everyone caravanned over to the New Orleans Veterans Affairs Hospital. They had some people to thank … and say “Happy Holidays” to.

Of course, what is a Christmas visit without ugly sweaters? Several Sonesta employees were sure to wear theirs—because they’re always good for a chuckle and to break the ice. Smiles and chats and small gifts—and even a war story or two—were shared all around. One vet felt the joy of the season when Michael Fruin, the Regional Vice President of Operations for Sonesta ES Suites, literally offered him the sweater off his back. “There ARE still good people in the world,” the vet said.

We often highlight the Sonesta Culture of Caring events that raise money for medical or social causes, donate items to school kids, fill the shelves of food banks and more. These of course are all hugely important and, by necessity, may require weeks of planning. They will, of course, continue among Sonesta employees all year, every year.

But it’s nice to be reminded—especially at Christmas—that sometimes all you have to do is show up and visit for a while.