NAGANO, Japan - Santa Claus is gearing up for a busy couple days, but he took time out this weekend to deliver some early Christmas presents to children in central Japan.

This time, he didn't use his reindeer. Santa took off in a hot air balloon instead.

Japanese news station NHK reports three balloons lifted off from Saku City in Nagano Prefecture early Saturday. They carried packages of sweets for more than 200 girls and boys.

The event was organized by a Hot Air Balloon Club.