Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup and All You Others Out There For Keeping Christmas Magic Alive!

Sorry for the second re-run. This was my Christmas Eve post from last year. But after Wednesdays post, this needs to be said again. Colonel Harry Shoup and our now retired local Santa Claus – their examples to us – this is why I still believe. There IS a Santa Claus – in all of us. We just have to let him out.

In 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call at work.

A six-year old boy began reciting his Christmas list. Colonel Shoup wasn’t amused. But when a second call from another child asking to speak to Santa Claus came into the Continental Air Defense Command office (CONAD) he was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Evidently, Sears Roebuck & Co. printed an ad with a phone number for children to be able to speak to Santa. The newspaper printed the wrong phone number. When Colonel Shoup realized this he instructed his staff to field all calls from children and give them the location of Santa Claus.

When the United States and Canada combined their air defense units (North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD) a couple of years later “the tradition continued.”  

Since 1955, volunteers man the phones on Christmas Eve to field calls requesting information on the whereabouts of Santa. Santa tracking went worldwide in 1997 when it was introduced to the web. According to Wikipedia over 500 volunteers field a half a million calls, over 12,500 emails and the website receives over 1 billion hits.  

A misprint in a newspaper started a phenomenon. And Colonel Shoup, just another of Santa’s helpers, kept the magic alive. It’s been said that one of his staff drew a little sleigh on a large glass map of the world that they had in the office. When Col. Shoup noticed it he called the local radio station and said, “We have a UFO coming across Canada. It looks like a sleigh.” The radio station played along and reported the news.

On March 14, 2009 Colonel Shoup died. But he left behind a way to transport us all into the magic of Christmas. What a beautiful gift he gave to us in the form of a simple phone call.

I remember turning on the television as a child to watch for news of where Santa had been and where he was headed. When my oldest was a child I logged onto the internet and showed her Santa’s trail. Now, I’m sharing that with my sons and with you – all because of one man’s belief in the magic of Santa Claus.

It’s Christmas Eve where I live. Santa has already begun his journey around the world and will be arriving here soon! Click here to follow Santa as he travels to our homes.  

Merry Christmas, my dear blog friends! I hope this post finds you happy, healthy, and surrounded by those you love. And may Santa bring you everything you’ve asked for!

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup and All You Others Out There For Keeping Christmas Magic Alive!

  1. Okay, so if you’re going to believe in something you have to go all out. This makes sense. What bugs me is the half-assed attempt people make about Santa, and how it ties so neatly into consumerism and materialism. Going this far??? Now THAT’S Christmas spirit! You have to make it believable, right? Right! This, my dear, is the definition of awesome, and reading this just made my Christmas Eve that much better. 😀 Thank you!

  2. Some reruns, like this post, are so very worth it! What a great Christmas story.
    Thanks.

  3. Loved this Jane. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  4. And may Santa bring you and yours plenty of cheer! Have a lovely holiday, Jane!

  5. I don’t mind the rerun either…wasn’t here for the first time!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, Jane!

    Wendy

  6. Merry Christmas! I’m hoping you get snow!

  7. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  8. My first husband ‘mans’ the phones at NORAD every Christmas Eve. Last year, my daughter was able to do it as well and said it was a wonderful experience and occasionally very amusing when the calls from inebriated revelers came through.

    Merry Christmas to you and those you love.

  9. Merry Christmas! I did NOT know about this until I read this post!

  10. We always used to listen to the NORAD reports on Christmas Eve. You mean it wasn’t true?

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