Ho-Ho-UFO: Is That Santa’s Sleigh Or A Flying Saucer In The Sky?

There’s something about the holidays that causes an uptick in UFO sightings. Is it a little Christmas magic, or are aliens taking advantage of our collective holiday distraction to surveil us?

December 1965: The Gemini 7 space capsule orbits the earth during its 14-day manned mission.

December 1965: The Gemini 7 space capsule orbits the earth during its 14-day manned mission.

Photo by: MPI/Getty Images

MPI/Getty Images

On a mid-December night in 1965, NASA’s Mission Control operators believed there was about to be serious trouble.

Two astronauts were in orbit on Gemini 6 after conducting some Space Race-era exercises as the United States worked to make it to the moon. The pair was preparing to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere when they called back to let Mission Control know they could see something strange.

“We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit... Looks like he might be going to re-enter soon... You just might let me pick up that thing... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit,” astronaut Wally Shirra Jr., said, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine.

Back at Mission Control, the operators’ voices grew strained. Could a Russian craft be that close to the American ship?

Suddenly, music began to echo through the control room. It was Jingle Bells played on a harmonica, and the crew working in Mission Control sighed with relief. It wasn’t a UFO—that time. That time, it was just a joke.

Other December sightings, however, are absolutely unexplainable.

New York

New York is a hotbed of UFO activity all year, but there are many tales of strange objects flying in the sky around the holidays. A Syracuse New-Times reporter compiled a list of Christmastime UFO sightings in New York. The stories span decades and come from all around the Empire state. One of the most notable is the account of a Northport resident who saw a red light in the sky on Christmas Eve in 2011. According to the article, the silent red light stopped and hovered several times before it disappeared.

Alien UFO landing on the backyard.

Photo by: simonbradfield via Getty Images

simonbradfield via Getty Images


A Winnipeg, Canada, ufologist has been studying holiday sightings for more than 30 years. In those 30 years, there were 75 sightings that occurred just on Christmas day, he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A common theme in the sightings was the presence of a floating red light followed by a string of white lights. Some wondered if it could actually be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.


A 19-year-old US Air Force airman stationed at the air force base in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, was headed to midnight mass on Christmas Eve in 1971 when she saw a star-shaped object streak across the sky. According to the Syracuse New-Times, the article hovered in the sky for several minutes before zooming away and disappearing. She kept the story to herself for years, fearing that her fellow servicemembers would never believe her.

A UFO hovers over a desert, and an old car is parked in the foreground.

Is someone getting abducted, or is someone hitching a ride?

Photo by: simonbradfield via Getty Images

simonbradfield via Getty Images

Is someone getting abducted, or is someone hitching a ride?

New Hampshire

In mid-December 2013, three people in a vehicle saw an arrangement of eight orange lights appear in the sky. According to NECN, the eight evenly-spaced lights blinked on one at a time in a single file line and then suddenly disappeared.

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