Ride along with Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, courtesy of NORADDuring his reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” on “Saturday Night Live,” actor John Malkovich said that, according to one estimate, Santa’s gift-laden sleigh weighs as much as 353,000 tons.
By: Thomas Vaughn, For the Budgeteer News, Superior Telegram
During his reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” on “Saturday Night Live,” actor John Malkovich said that, according to one estimate, Santa’s gift-laden sleigh weighs as much as 353,000 tons. This weekend will be a good time to draw your own conclusion about that estimate.
At 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 24, a website — www.noradsanta.org — will offer midnight cybernauts and netizens the opportunity to watch Santa make preparations for his flight. Then, at 5 a.m., live phone operators will answer questions about Santa’s whereabouts for people who call them at 1-877-446-6723 (1-877-HI-NORAD). Emails may also be sent to email@example.com. The SantaCam will also stream videos to the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.
The “NORAD Tracks Santa” website is managed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Closer to the Twin Ports, the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing, part of the NORAD threat response matrix, is ready to keep the skies clear for Santa’s journey.
“We understand the need to track Santa,” said Lt. Col. Jon Safstrom, vice commander of the 148th. “We don’t want any issues with shooting Santa down or any other responses to Santa that would not be appropriate. So, that’s the impetus for the NORAD Tracks Santa site.”
The website is currently active, offering a wide variety of information, videos, and interactive games that offer everyone the opportunity to get know Santa Claus better.
“I post it on my own Facebook site for my friends who have kids,” said Maj. Audra Flanagan. “I think it’s a very nice application. It provides some education and entertainment for people of all ages. How Santa keeps up such a quick pace is magical, absolutely beyond me. I admire him.”
One of those friends with kids is Master Sgt. Craig Honkala. A Duluthian, Honkala enjoyed looking over the website with his son Nathan.
“Nathan loves to count how many days until Christmas — the countdown to opening presents,” said Honkala. “He likes any of the games on the site, especially the downhill skiing around the trees, picking up sticks and trinkets. I found it very entertaining myself. It’s amazing how you can entertain the young and old at the same time with a website like this one.”
Tracking opportunities are also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.