Santa ditches sleigh, gets lift from LAPD chopper to deliver presents to kids in hospital

 A sleigh may have been too slow for Santa Claus, who traded in his iconic ride to get a lift on the Los Angeles Police Department’s helicopter.

The LAPD’s SWAT team helped Santa deliver presents Wednesday to The Luskin Orthopaedic Institute for Children as part of its annual "Toys and Joys" celebration, now in its 31st year.

The event brings holiday cheer to more than 25,000 families and welcomes 1,000 children for an interactive day of activities, giveaways, face painting, arts & crafts, beverages, snacks, and toys.

RELATED: December birthday babies get fewer gifts over their lifetime, research shows

To get to the hospital, Santa sat on the chopper’s landing skid as he raced above the L.A. skies. The spectacle has been a part of the annual event for several years.

Once he touched down on the hospital’s rooftop, Santa then repelled down the side of the building before meeting with children, taking pictures and delivering toys such as soccer balls, decorative reindeer antlers, books, and blankets.

Children also got to meet actor Freddy Rodriguez from "Six Feet Under" and "Ugly Betty" along with Disney Channel cast members and the LA Galaxy’s Star Squad.

RELATED: Pasadena family shares holiday spirit with award-winning light display

The Luskin Orthopaedic Institute for Children treats every child regardless of insurance status. It was founded in 1911 as Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. The institute said it’s the largest pediatric orthopedic facility on the West Coast focused solely on musculoskeletal conditions in children

This story was reported from Los Angeles.