FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The holidays are tough – especially for kids who have to spend that time in the hospital.

Monday, things got a little brighter for dozens of young patients in care centers in both Dallas and Fort Worth. The sick children and their parents received visits from the Dallas Cowboys players and cheerleaders.

To say there was holiday glee at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth would probably be an understatement.

“It makes me feel happy,” one child said.

For some of the patients the visit from the Cowboys ranked right up there with the expected visit from Santa.

Teenage patient Antonio Solis even got to meet his favorite player — wide receiver Miles Austin.

“It makes me feel like everybody cares about all the kids in the hospital,” said the 16-year-old, who had both his jersey and hat signed by Austin.

Antonio said the face-to-face visit turned out to be different than he thought it would. “He’s [Miles Austin] really big. He’s huge. I didn’t think he was going to be that big. He looks smaller on TV.”

For the first time since he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis last May, Antonio said he didn’t mind being in the hospital.

“I’m glad that I’m in the hospital this week so I can see them,” he said happily.

Cowboys players and cheerleaders signed autographs, took pictures and handed out presents.

“They’re just great kids. [I’m] just happy to be here,” said wide receiver Laurent Robinson. “Anyway we can show some love and give back.”

And players say they get as much out of the experience as the children do.

“We’ve been coming out here, getting these kids to smile, making their day a little bit better and to be honest with you, in turn, it makes our day a little bit better,” admitted player Miles Austin.

The feeling was mutual for young patient Maci Drewry. “It makes me feel better because a lot of people are coming to see me.

Cowboys players and cheerleaders also visited patients at Children’s Medical Center, Scottish Rite Hospital and Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.