|'Santa Claus' CC.2.0|
For more than 50 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its predecessor, Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve flight, providing Santa, his reindeer, and sleigh, safe and unimpeded air space over North America and Canada, while sharing information with children about Santa’s minute-by-minute progress around the globe.
NORAD is staffed by the good folks who keep our skies safe, 24 hours a day, seven days week with radar and intercept aircraft, and this time of year they also invite you to their NORAD Tracks Santa web site where you can keep an eye on Santa’s Christmas flight right along with them in real time.
At the NORAD site, children, parents and caregivers will see video images from the “Santa Cams” that have been pre-positioned around the world to catch glimpses of Santa, the reindeer and his sleigh.
You’ll also track Santa by downloading a free application of Google Earth, available from the NORAD web site, as well as following Santa's progress on NORAD’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
NORAD provides some fun and games during the countdown at "Santa’s Village," where you click on any shop in the village, and find an interesting activity that is inside each of the different buildings.
There are also special pages where you’ll see and hear Santa read the Night Before Christmas in a pre-recorded video, and learn lots of interesting facts about the big guy in red, everything from his sleigh’s technical data to how he gets down a chimney.
For Santa skeptics there is even a page where you can listen to the reading of a real letter, which was written to a newspaper in 1897 by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, questioning the existence of Santa, and hear the newspaper editor’s touching and thoughtful reply.
Information about appropriate “Santa Snacks” to leave out for the main man, and pages about NORAD – "why" they track Santa and details on how the tracking is actually done are available.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website is a non-profit organization funded solely through corporate donations, and is fully staffed by an all-volunteer crew who love children, Christmas, and honor the memory of Colonel Harry Shoup, (Retired) USAF, who by serendipity in 1955, became NORAD’s very first Santa Tracker.
While you and your little one are waiting for Santa, below is this year’s adorable video pick, “Santa and Baby (Santa’s Little Helper Song)” by award-winning songwriter, performer and educator, Debbie Cavalier and her band Debbie and Friends.
Cavalier’s YouTube channel explains: "Baby" is a little dog with big dreams! She wants to be Santa's little helper and her friend "Lady" helps make that dream come true.
The groove is inspired by the Spin Doctors (Yeah!) ! The story is inspired by one of the cutest dogs we've ever met named Baby. And, the message for this Christmas song is about giving, helping friends, and taking steps to make your dreams come true.”
Since 2009, this post, which originally appeared in my column on Examiner.com, has become a tradition with my readers, and it was once again my pleasure to bring it you, dusting it off a bit and providing some updates along with this year’s very special cartoon video from Debbie and Friends.
It is my hope that this is shared with the child or children who are important in your life.
With very best wishes for the happiest of holidays and a New Year filled with many blessings to you and yours.
I will be back in the first week of the New Year with a very special announcement.