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As Christmas Countdown Begins, Children Are Searching for Santa

Posted on the 02 December 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
As Christmas countdown begins, children are searching for Santa

Santa Claus. Photo credit: McClave

Christmas, as children across the globe know, is on its way – which means that Santa Claus, that jolly defense of adult onset diabetes, is super busy, overseeing his team of happy (and probably non-union) elves, outfitting his sleigh with GPS, and sorting out the good children from the naughty. Still, in these times of information ubiquity and constant contact, even Father Christmas is trackable.

So, where’s the twinkly-eyed, red-suited fat man now?

Where Santa can be found. On your smartphone. NORAD, the military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the U.S. and Canada, and its predecessor, CONAD, has tracked Santa’s movements every Christmas since 1955 – but this is the first year that the defense command has put out an app. The app features a countdown to Father Christmas’s take-off and Christmas-themed games, and, on December 24, allows users to track Santa on Google Maps. Last year, NORAD fielded more than 80,000 calls and sent out more than 7,000 emails on Santa’s whereabouts.

Why does NORAD track Santa? Back in 1955, a Colorado Springs Sears & Roebuck store ran a hotline that allowed children to ring Santa directly, but accidentally printed the wrong number on the advertisement – instead of reaching Santa, children got the CONAD commander-in-chief’s operations hotline. The commander at the time played along and, rather than disappoint the kids, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole.

NORAD tracks Santa in 2010:

Where else he can be found. In the classroom. According to a report from The Huffington Post, The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan, the largest and best school of Father Christmas instruction, has seen a major up-tick in students – many of them retirees looking for a way to earn some extra cash during the holidays. And, in a sad indicator of the kinds of desperate economic condition America is in, these Santas are being instructed on how to “swiftly size up families’ financial circumstances, gently scale back children’s Christmas gift requests and even how to answer the wish some say they have been hearing with more frequency — ‘Can you bring my parent a job?”’ The New York Times reported.

Where he can’t be found. At the Kingston, NY police station. Two children, ages 4 and 6, were reprimanded after they called 911, asking to speak with Santa or the police chief last Sunday, the Associated Press reported. It wasn’t clear what the children wanted from Santa, who, though he knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, isn’t usually known as an arbiter of justice.

Where else he can’t be found. On the cover of Britain’s Radio Times magazine. Ben Preston, the magazine’s editor, told The Guardian that putting Father Christmas on the cover of the magazine just “didn’t feel right” in these straitened economic times: “Would Father Christmas be seen as a bloated, red-faced symbol of over-indulgence? At a time when so many people are hunkering down with friends and family and turning their backs on extravagant gift-giving, we wanted something different.” The paper noted that the magazine has made something of a tradition of ditching Santa during tough financial times; that said, the paper added, “Despite the magazine’s sensitive view towards its cover image, buyers are be asked to swallow a 4.2% cover price rise [£2.50, up from £2.40 last year].”

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