JOPLIN, Mo. — The holiday season kicks off with a certain visitor from the North Pole, lighting up the tree with a special family.

This evening (Saturday), marked the 22nd annual Gift of Light, Gift of Love for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States.

This year offered an open house and “family reunion,” complete with photos with Santa, a story time with Mrs. Claus, plenty of hot cocoa, and much more.

Like every year, Santa comes out of the house to light the tree with a special family.

It was the Gleeson family who helped Santa, tonight, after sharing their experience at the house.

It’s one they say kept them together during a difficult time.

“When we look at the gift of all the volunteers, we look at the gifts — the greatest gift that a family can have is the gift of each other. And that’s what this event does, the gift of each other and one another,” said Annette Thurston, Ronald McDonald House Charities of The Four States Executive Director.

Once Santa and the Gleeson family lit the tree, the sky was filled with quite the firework display.