CHICAGO (WLS) -- Saint Ignatius College Prep is delivering an early Christmas to so many grateful students at Christopher Elementary School.
But, it's not the present or a visit from Santa that kids love most, it's the relationships formed with their peers from Saint Ignatius.
Christmas is 16 days away, but Saint Ignatius College Prep is giving these eager Christopher Elementary students a reason to celebrate early.
"It just shows what the mission at Saint Ignatius is," Katherine Gallagher, Christopher Elementary principal, said.
For the past two decades, Saint Ignatius has hand-delivered Christmas gifts to Christopher Elementary, a relationship that's only strengthened over the years, and you can see it on the faces of students from both schools.
"I'm really grateful and it makes me really happy they are spending time with us," Christopher student Yuliana Valencia said.
The compassionate program, called a Christopher Christmas, was on pause the past few years because of COVID, so this is the first time that students are back together once again.
"You might not even know them, but you welcome them into your heart and your community and we are so, so grateful. Thank you very much," Gallagher said.
Three hundred students from Christopher Elementary had their Christmas list wishes fulfilled by St. Ignatius.
It's also a homecoming for Saint Ignatius senior Manuel Padilla, who was once a student at Christopher Elementary.
"It feels very special to me. It feels like once I was in their shoes and I can give back to that same cause that helped me," Padilla said. "It wasn't just like a small gift for me. It was like more the time they were spending with me...No better gift than that."
And for Christopher Elementary teacher Megan Dasenbrook, who was once a student at Saint Ignatius.
"The students are so excited. They love seeing Santa. They are so excited to open their gifts," Dasenbrook said. "Being an Ignatius student to come to Christopher to give the gifts and then being a teacher here to see the kids be so excited about it, it's the most amazing thing."
Christmas might be weeks away, but you would never know, if you spent time inside the classrooms of Christopher Elementary.
The day doesn't end with Christopher Elementary students just opening gifts, they also spend quality time with St. Ignatius students, which is what matters most.