Santa rides again
My favorite personal holiday is New Year's, but as a parent, Christmas is the holiday. It has been one of my greatest joys - listening to my daughter's high-pitched young chatter about the reindeer, reading her letters to Santa Claus, hearing her slightly off-key Christmas Carols ... it's unbelievably endearing and innocent. Every year, though, I've wondered when it will end. Will it be this time that she'll figure out who Santa is?
Actually, I think she's known for a long time that Santa is the spirit of love, family, and giving. How else to explain her willingness to overlook the slips and giggles of the adults?
It's become just one more tradition for us, in fact - deliberate maintenance of the innocent childhood belief by me, and her continuing acceptance of my evasive promotion of the spirit of the season instead of hard and fast answers.
We have lots of traditions that make the Christmas holiday memorable. Some of them are doubtless shared by lots of folks – like baking fresh chocolate chip cookies and making sure there are fresh vegetables left outside for the reindeer. (smile…) Another is tracking Santa’s progress around the globe on Christmas Eve via the NORAD site.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a military unit that monitors Santa’s progress around the globe every year – and has done for half a century. Why, one might wonder, is the military tracking Santa Claus? Here's how it came to be (from their site):
This is the 50th Anniversary that NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa. The tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. store advertisement for children to call Santa on a special "hotline" included an inadvertently misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first "Santa" call on Christmas Eve 1955. Realizing what had happened, Colonel Shoup had his staff check radar data to see if there was any indication of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Indeed there were signs of Santa and children who called were given an update on Santa's position. Thus, the tradition was born.
For 50 years! Neat! Sadly, even NORAD’s help may not be enough this year. (For instance, she was disappointed that Santa replied with an “auto-reply” to her email. Twice.)
As long as she wants to believe, though, I intend to let her.
So, while we are baking cookies and quelling over-excited chaos here, we’ll be keeping up with where Santa Claus is… because if nothing else, we all know children have to be in bed before Santa will come! (Whatever works, I say!)
Santa lives in all our hearts, and he’s coming…