BOXFORD (CBS) – For one North Shore man, Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate with hundreds of people who aren’t able to be home.

For the last three decades, Jim Nentwig has spent the holiday dressed as the man in red.

Jim Nentwig

Jim Nentwig

The tradition began when his wife Elizabeth was fighting cancer.

“We knew it would be her last Christmas and so my three sons and I thought that we ought to have a Santa,” said Jim.

Because of Jim, everyone in the cancer unit at Brigham and Women’s got a visit from Santa. His wife Elizabeth passed away that February.

“There’s a lot of people that suffer,” says Jim. “There’s a lot of people that have hard times and certainly there are all of us who can make things easier and brighter for people especially on this very special day.”

In Boxford, Santa’s magic is in full swing on Christmas Eve.

“We had one woman who made up hats for us, for cancer patients,” said Nentwig.

Instead of a sleigh, a truck will deliver all 2,000 presents.

No matter what illness people are fighting, Jim hopes a flower or a present will bring a smile.

“It is a real nourishment to know that you’re doing some good,” says Jim. “I think it’s a legacy people can leave behind. I’ve done something I can be proud of.”

For most people Christmas is only one day a year, but for Jim, it’s all year. He’ll start planning for next year in about a month.


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