Tag Archives: santa claus

no one shuts down santa.

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Santa Tracker Unaffected By Government Shutdown, NORAD Says

Amidst the partial government shutdown, at least one critical service remains operational: NORAD’s Santa tracker. Despite gridlock in Washington, more than 1500 military personnel and volunteers in an air force base in Colorado will be hard at work Christmas Eve, tracking Santa Claus and answering children’s calls.

Every year, in a tradition that dates back to the Cold War, volunteers field tens of thousands of calls and emails from across the world, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Children ask for Santa’s location, detail their Christmas lists and probe volunteers for other details.Those volunteers, who take two-hour shifts starting in the early morning on Dec. 24, wouldn’t be there if not for a typo in a local newspaper in 1955.

When Col. Harry Shoup picked up his secret hotline at Peterson Air Force in Colorado, he was expecting a call from a four-star general at the Pentagon, according to a  2014  StoryCorps interview with his children. “And then there was a small voice that just asked, ‘Is this Santa Claus?’ ” his daughter, Pam Farrell says.

His family says that Shroup was annoyed. The United States was nearly a decade into the Cold War, and the colonel was prepared for reports of a nuclear attack, not requests for Santa Claus. But when the child started to cry, he responded jovially. Then he asked for the boy’s mother.

The mother explained that a Sears ad in the newspaper instructed kids to call Santa “any time day or night.” But the newspaper had accidentally printed the number for Shoup’s private red phone, instead of the store’s. So as the calls came in, Shoup put his airmen on the phones to pretend to be Santa Claus. The tradition has continued for more than six decades, outliving its creator — Shoup died in 2009.

The “tracking” technology has evolved over time, said Maj. Todd Walter, a Mission Crew Commander with the Canadian Air Defense. “We use radar systems scattered across the world, along with satellites providing infrared imagery, we have Santa Cams scattered throughout the world, then jet fighters that also go out and intercept Santa.”

credits: npr.org, francesca paris, storycorps, canadian air defense, norad

never worry about the size of your christmas tree. in the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. ~ larry wilde

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at the community tree lighting

with singing and people and candles and chilly air

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and then this guy snuck in

our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred,

and we are better throughout the year for having,

in spirit, become a child again at christmas-time.

~laura ingalls wilder

where there is life there is wishful thinking. – gerald f. lieberman

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babies j, b and f

believe

waiting

and

hoping

 for a glimpse

of santa

8 tiny reindeer

and

for

all

of

their wishes

to

come true.

clothing is optional.

all human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.
-alexandre dumas

Too clever is dumb. – Ogden Nash

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i was in arizona, visiting my sister and her family, and we crossed the border to go bargain shopping at a market in mexico. we saw lots and lots of wonderful things for sale, but there was one item i simply could not resist. i have always been a huge fan of pinatas, and of all of the celebrations and craziness that go with them, and i saw one that topped all the others. it was a giant. life-sized, santa claus piñata. i knew right away it had to be mine. and, in the spirit of being in the open-air market, i knew i would drive a hard bargain for st. nick. 

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soon after, there were 5 seconds of tough negotiations that went something like this,

‘how much for that santa?’

’10 dollars and 25 cents.’

‘how about 10 dollars?

‘okay.’

i knew i had been so clever, and had gotten the bargain of a lifetime. i was so happy, and santa and i kind of walked off with a newfound swagger, as i talked about how clever i had been, how the seller didn’t know how much this gem was worth, and how clever i really was.

we drove to the airport and i checked in, proud to be carrying my new friend santa, ready to show him how we like to celebrate the winter holidays in michigan. we got lots of odd looks, smiles and questioning faces, but no matter. it was so clever, that we had ended up together, and for such a bargain price. it was at the ticket counter, however, that my ‘so clever’ bubble was quickly popped,  i was told the following: ‘he’s too big to stow above, you’ll have to buy him his own seat.’ what, my $10.00 clever bargain santa would now cost me hundreds to get home??

and soon after, yet another round of intense negotiations took place:

‘okay, what are my other options?’

‘there is only one.’

‘okay.’

we found a compromise. santa could fly with the luggage in the cargo section of the plane, and i had to be willing to accept that he may not look the same upon arrival. we parted ways – him on a conveyer belt, and i walked down a long hallway. i imagined all sorts of terrible things happening to him without his clever mama watching over him, but he would have been an expensive companion to have on board.

when i landed i saw him coming around the luggage carousel, feet first, and with a toe tag on. i thought about how he looked like he was in a morgue, and i knew it had been a very rough flight for him. i picked him up, stood him upright, and as we walked away, he was not quite as jolly, and i, not quite as clever. it had been a good run of clever for both of us though, and how quickly it was over.  

The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so.  –   Francois de La Rochefoucauld