Searching For Santa Claus: Memories of the NORAD Santa TrackerDanielle Sullivan
When my oldest daughter Amanda was three, we were at my brother-in-law’s house on a freezing cold Christmas Eve. My husband has seven siblings and many of them had kids at the time so the house was filled with Christmas spirit. As they waited for their presents, they ate, played, danced, and asked over and over, “When will Santa be come?”
At regular intervals, one of the adults would take all the kids out onto the stoop and we would stare into the sky looking for Rudolf’s shiny red nose.
“Be quiet” my daughter said. “I think I hear his bells.”
“I think I see something. Look over there,” another would say pointing to the dark sky.
Amanda swears she heard those bells and listened each year after that for them to ring again or see the lights move along the heavens.
At home, we would track Santa on NORAD (there is a science to tracking the big guy!) but once we got to the Christmas Eve celebration, we lost track of NORAD’s path since my brother-in-law’s computer was not downstairs. By the time we got back home, the kids would be exhausted and if they hadn’t already fallen asleep in the car, they would fall asleep the minute their heads hit the pillow.
I also remember searching for Santa about twenty years ago with my nephew, Michael who is now 23. Santa’s in Africa, now he’s in Europe: Ireland, England, Scotland. With each new country or continent, a glimmer of light would shine in his eyes. The ultimate was when Santa got to Canada because that meant we were next.
Over the years, the thrill of it all and the delight of seeing the kids’ faces brighten up was so much fun that I almost forgot that Santa wasn’t really on his sled high above. Part of the real fun of Christmas is seeing just how happy our children get and enjoying those special moments with family and friends.
This year the Christmas Eve celebration will be closer to home, In fact, it will be home. My family is coming over to our house tomorrow night so I am busy making preparations. I’ll start with finishing my work early so the kids can have full reign of my computer. The party starts when Santa is overseas and ends when he gets to Canada. Somewhere in between, there will be trips to the stoop, some lights in the sky and hopefully, lots of lifelong memories.