Christmas Eve Greetings

As we hit the road for our family visits this year, we passed this sign. I am happy to visit folks but am already looking forward to returning. Christmas Eve is a special time. It should be cherished but it can be hectic and frustrating so I thought a little "background data" will help all readers, whether you are near or far away get through this special time.I have fond memories of my family Christmas celebrations. One was waiting for Santa to come...wondering where he was on his "route". Now we can even help our youngsters follow his path through NORAD with apps and links. tracking Santa is a 57-year-long holiday tradition at NORAD. Yes, I do remember as a youngster when this program was so exciting! At that time, we could call the hotline.  Given those memories, I decided this year to do a little research.

The NORAD website is quite complete; one can tell that this tradition has been in place for quite a while. NORAD's involvement dates back to a 1955 advertisement in a local Sears, Roebuck & Co. department store asking children to call Santa directly. But the phone number in the ad contained a typo. Instead of reaching Santa's private phone, the children gained direct access to the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD's predecessor. Colonel Harry Shoup was working that Christmas Eve when the first child called. Shoup instructed his staff to check the radar for signs of Santa, relayed the information to the children, and the tradition was born.

Do visit, call the hotline at 1-877-HI-NORAD, or email on Christmas Eve to get information on Santa's location. Last year, NORAD fielded over 102,000 phone calls and 7,700 emails. 

So, how does Santa deliver all those gifts in one night? Here's are some helpful bits of info for parents: 

"Every December 24th since 1955 we have been telling children exactly where Santa is so that children all over the world can make sure that they're in bed on time so that Santa will deliver their presents," explained Stacey Knott, a deputy chief at NORAD, U.S.-Canadian military organization based in Colorado. "Number one, Santa flies faster than starlight," said Knott. "But we're not completely sure how he does it. It's a little bit of magic." Knott said NORAD relies heavily on partners and volunteers to run the project."We have 1,200 volunteers who will come in and will tell people where Santa is located," she added. For more help, check the FAQ section on Santa on their website! Love this!

Another thing I am liking as I putter around the Island are the indoor Christmas decorations - especially the Christmas trees. Since traveling at this time of year is part of our holiday tradition, we don't put up a tree so it's fun to see them. There is a very nice one at Findlay's Holiday Inn. It reminds me of their Christmas in July celebrations. This year, Jim and Kathy plan to be open on Christmas morning. Do call for the hours and come and enjoy breakfast in a festive location.I also love this one...the mitten tree at Trinity Lutheran Church. For several years, mittens, scarves, and other warm accessories many (most?) hand made are collected for the homeless in the Fellowship Hall as part of holiday preparations. This years collection will be distributed in Madison. Another good thing happening on our Island. Thanks to Pat Clarke for this photo.

Oh yes, we did get some snow in time for Christmas...just enough to make everything pretty. (Photo courtesy of the Observer.)We do wish you all a Happy Holiday!

Have a great week!