Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup, For Keeping Santa’s Magic Alive!

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 that allowed children to speak with Santa. The newspaper printed the wrong phone number. When Colonel Shoup realized this, he instructed his staff to take all calls from children and give them the location of Santa Claus. And when the United States and Canada combined their air defense units (North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD) a couple years later, “the tradition continued.” 

Since 1955, volunteers man the phones on Christmas Eve to field calls requesting information on the whereabouts of Santa Claus. 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 simple 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 to our house 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!


Filed under children, Holiday

15 responses to “Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup, For Keeping Santa’s Magic Alive!

  1. This was one of the good things about the fifties. Can you see anyone today caring about Santa so much that they would do this. It was a kinder less complicated time.

  2. What an awesome story! It warmed my cold black heart!

  3. suzicate

    Did not know the origin of that…thnaks for sharing!

  4. Joe

    I didn’t know that whole story, either, thanks for sharing. And Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or just have a great end of 2009!

  5. angelcel

    Happy Christmas to you and your family. 🙂
    Jayne xo

  6. Happy Christmas to you and your family. It’s been a delight discovering your blog this year!

  7. Thanks for sharing that story. I had no idea.

  8. You can add me on the “Had No Idea” list. What a great little story. Thanks!

  9. Pingback: A Lucky Leprechaun Learns A Lesson From The Wee Little Ones « Theycallmejane's Blog

  10. zoe

    I will forever raise a glass to the memory of Harry Shoup

  11. Happy Holidays, Jane! xo

  12. Happy Christmas to you and your family, I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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