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Better Be Nice: NORAD Tracking Santa Claus

One of my fondest memories as a kid, as is true for many kids across America, is getting ready for Santa. My family's tradition was to get all four of us kids in our pajamas, pile us into the family Rambler and take off to look for Santa Claus as our local radio station updated us.

Thousands of kids stick to similar traditions every year, but not many know that this tradition became famous 60 years ago this Christmas. Sears Roebuck had published an advertisement telling kids to call Santa Claus on his private line but a simple typo listed instead the phone number of the Continental Air Defense Command known as CONAD. Luckily for kids all across America, when the red phonelrang on Colonel Harry Shoup's desk - a phone that was only connected to the Pentagon - he was initially surprised when a young boy asked, "Are you Santa Claus?" Any initial irritation quickly disappeared when the boy's mother told him about a Sears ad and he realized that his top secret number had been published. As the evening progressed, other airmen who were tracking flights across America, put up a sleigh on the board and Colonel Shoup joined in the fun by calling a local radio station and said they had identified a UFO that they were almost sure was a sleigh carrying Santa Claus. This was the beginning of an annual tradition of CONAD tracking Santa Claus. Read more about Colonel Shoup who gained the nickname of the "Santa Colonel." His children share his story on Story Corps, which is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones. The conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Read their story at NPR.org. See StoryCorps.org to read stories that other people have shared.

Original Sears and Roebuck ad from 1955. Public domain.

CONAD is now known as NORAD and has continued the annual tradition of tracking Santa Claus. The United States Air Force Military Band plays Christmas songs as Santa is tracked. Visit the official NORAD Santa tracking site to join in the fun this year.

Happy Holidays to All!

To our troops serving and protecting us here at home and overseas, we wish you peace, a safe and successful stay, and a return home soon to the families who wait for you and from your fellow Americans who are profoundly grateful for all you do.

We thank you all for another great year at Glendale Parade Store. We truly enjoy working with the nicest and most dedicated customers who inspire us to do our best to serve you! We look forward to connecting with you in 2016.

All of us at Glendale Parade Store send you our warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a healthy new year.

Glendale and ParadeStore.com

Glendale outfits honor guards, color guards, and drill units. Visit our site for the best in parade and drill equipment and for uniform accessories at http://www.ParadeStore.com

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