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Tracking Santa on the Web


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Tracking Santa on the Web


We watched Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story recently, and it was fun to hear my kids laugh throughout one of my favorite holiday movies, a well-told story by a radio legend. Watching Ralphie listening to the radio stirred vague memories of tuning into Jean Shepherd's radio show, with my family riveted to his every word. But it also reminded me of the only time as a kid I remember being riveted to the radio instead of the TV: Christmas Eve, listening to the NORAD sightings of Santa on his marathon gift run.


NORAD's Santa tracking operation moved onto the web in 1998, and kids and parents can go to the NORAD Tracks Santa web site and track the big fella's movements in six languages. The story goes that NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) got involved in Santa's movements after its predecessor, CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command), got calls about Santa's whereabouts after Sears & Roebuck mistakenly misprinted a Santa hotline telephone number in newspaper ads in 1955. The commander who answered the first child's call gave out the requested info, and a tradition was born. When CONAD became NORAD, the bi-national air defense command for the United States and Canada in 1958, it took over the duties of tracking Santa's around-the-world flight.


Kids can check out the Santa webcams that "capture images of Santa and the Reindeer as they make their journey around the world."


My kids have also liked the Santa at Claus.com web site, where they can check if they've been naughty or nice. But they have grown suspicious in the past when some of the same phrases popped up after they put in different friends' names. (As always, this is a good teachable moment to tell young kids not to put in full names or other personal information if they send an e-mail to Santa.)





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