Only in San Diego: Santa with Reindeer Leading Navy Jet on USS Midway Museum

Santa has a new gig in San Diego — wearing a red flight suit as he sits in a Navy jet’s ejection seat through Dec. 23.

The jolly man’s sleigh is attached to a holiday lighted jet with his reindeer leading the way.

Where? Where else?

The USS Midway Museum.

With “Jingle Jets,” the nautical museum is the newest venue for local holidays with more than 500,000 lights wrapped around a dozen aircraft and displays on the flight deck and below on the hangar deck.

“Jingle Jets is not only the newest holiday experience in San Diego, but it’s probably the most unique holiday experience this town has ever seen,” said David Koontz, marketing director for the Midway on Monday’s preview night.

“I mean — how many places in the country are you going to see jet aircraft wrapped in Christmas lights?” he said. “We want to transform the Midway into that little unique Winter Wonderland with an aviation twist.”

Jingle Jets will run on 17 select nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas on the USS Midway Museum, 910 N. Harbor Dr.

Tickets for Jingle Jets are $25 for adults (13 and up), $18 for youth (6 through 12) and free for children 5 and younger.

In addition to seeing the aircraft carrier being decked out from bow to stern, visitors entering the hangar deck are greeted by holiday carolers as they walk through a wintery forest of illuminated trees and brightly lit tunnels.

Visitors will see life-size holiday ornaments, reindeer and polar bears.

Overhead truss lighting fills the hangar with hues of red, green and blue, and additional lighting shines snowflake lights on the ground.

The center section of the carrier’s flight deck showcases an array of overhead colorful icicle lights crisscrossed from decorative truss towers, and the fantail is lit up with three 20-foot rope-light Christmas trees.

Two helicopters are decorated on the insides with stockings hung amid holiday decorations.

The flight deck will feature dancing with a DJ spinning holiday tunes as well as multiple photo opportunities.

On the hangar deck, visitors can have their photos taken with Santa Claus.

Holiday stationery is available at the mess-deck tables, encouraging visitors to write letters to service members.

The holiday display has been in the planning stages for more than a year, within the last months to design displays and in the last two weeks to set up the lighting, Koontz said.

Lighting crews worked around the clock and into the wee hours, he said.

“People truly love holiday lights and … this is probably the most unique environment that it’s ever been done in,” Koontz said. “Our goal is to really make this a new holiday tradition here in San Diego.”