by Jenn Riggle
Christmas is right around the corner and once again, my nine-year old is asking me the age-old question: “Is Santa Claus real?”
I’ve told her that like every good manager, Santa delegates some of his jobs so he can focus on preparing for Christmas. She understands that the Santa at the shopping mall isn’t the real Santa, but he works for him. By the same token, parents also help Santa – and that we have his cell phone number in case we need to let him know that we’re staying at a relative’s home for the holidays or, heaven forbid, we need to tell him to skip our house this year because we haven’t been good.
I think it’s wonderful that my daughter believes in the magic of Christmas and secretly believes that a gnome lives in the tree in our backyard, but I don’t want her friends at school to make fun of her. So I did what I always do and went to the Internet to look for answers.
I read Chad Skelton’s blog that asked the question: Is it wrong to lie to your children about Santa Claus? I thought his article was insightful, but I don’t want to be like Maureen O’Hara’s character in the classic movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” a hard-working divorced mom who wants to protect her daughter by teaching her not to believe in fairy tales – or Santa.
I found a couple of sites where you can send a letter to Santa, but they hadn’t been updated in a couple of years, so that didn’t help my cause.
So I looked elsewhere and learned that @SantaClaus is on Twitter, and according to National Public Radio, he’s not using Twitter lists to help him track who’s Naughty and Nice. Although I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind it if he gave lumps of coal to the scantily clad women on Twitter who randomly follow people. I also found @MrsSantaClaus on Twitter and it turns out she has a lot more time to talk to kids at this time of year.
Santa Claus also has over 1 million followers on Facebook, but most of them seem to be adults asking Santa not to forget them this year.
But the best evidence we’ve found that Santa is real is that you can follow Santa’s travels around the globe on the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site. In fact NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), an organization that works to protect the U.S. and Canada from air attacks, has been tracking Santa since 1958.
I found an article that quoted Canadian fighter pilots, who are going to escort Santa as he flies over the region. And on YouTube, there’s a message from U.S. Air Force General Gene Renuart, Commander of NORAD, that explains how NORAD tracks Santa on Christmas Eve.
Children of all ages can call and e-mail Santa trackers for updates beginning at 4 a.m. MST on Christmas Eve. You can also track him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr – and if you’re an OnStar subscriber, you can get updates in your car.
According to my daughter, if the U.S. government believes in Santa, that’s good enough for her.