'I didn't realize people were so afraid of the dentist,' said Cornelison. She retired a year and a half ago, but still fills in at dental offices.
Judy Cornelison is a dental hygienist, whom everyone loves to go to, thanks to the costumes she wears to work, she makes sure that her patients relax and smile when they enter the office. Cornelison said, "I discovered early in my career that people don't like to come to the dentist," according to PEOPLE. It all started in 1994 when a patient got her a hat from a New Year Eve's party. "I wore it that day, and it just changed patients' whole demeanor," she shared. "It puts patients at ease." Her costume collection also started to grow since then. She has a singing turkey hat, "Super Floss" and a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater. She thinks that wearing a costume works as "an icebreaker" with the patients. However, she removes the full costume and continues to wear a funny hat or glasses when she is cleaning a patient's teeth.
"I didn't realize people were so afraid of the dentist," said Cornelison. She retired a year and a half ago, but still fills in at dental offices. "But you hear horror stories — and it just makes me happy that I can make them smile at least once before they leave." When she retired much of her collection was gifted to one of her patients who is an eye doctor, the person said, "I want your stuff."
There is another doctor who has been trying to put smiles on everyone's faces during the holiday season since 1984 at Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester. Robert Sinkin wears a fake white beard and red velvet Santa costume to bring smiles to thousands of NICU parents this time of the year. He started this tradition when he was a doctor in training when the previous Santa was stepping down from the role. He first was not sure if he would be able to do the job as he thought of himself as a skinny Jewish man. "It was wonderful to give families the precious photo they couldn’t get at the mall because their babies were in the NICU," he said. "I don't celebrate Christmas, but it was obvious that a visit from Santa was filling an important need for a lot of families."
Sinkin visited the families as Santa every December for almost 40 years. Moreover, he has been growing a beard for the last 8 years to look more like Sanit Nicholas. But as he is 68, last year, he decided it was time for him to pass on this opportunity to someone else. He said, "I’m going to be retiring in the not-so-distant future, so I think it’s reasonable for somebody else to enjoy playing Santa." He posted a picture with 51 NICU infants including a set of triplets and a set of twins on December 15, 2022, his last day as Santa Claus. He was accompanied by neonatal nurse Naomi Rademeyer, who has been Mrs. Claus for the previous few years.
The mother of the triplets he visited at the hospital, Kaitlyn Key, said that she could tell that Sinkin was not just acting the part of Santa Claus. She said, "He was so natural at it—you could tell it was something he enjoyed and was good at. It’s hard to have my babies in the NICU, so seeing Santa Claus making his rounds brought a lot of joy."