Tag Archives: Colonel Harry Shoup

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!

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Filed under children, Holiday

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and Jane: The Holy Trinity of Trickery And Fraud

“Mom? Are you the tooth fairy?”

Stunned, I can’t look up from the puzzle I’m working on. “No, Sweetie. I’m your mom.”

My son walked away satisfied.

Oh. God. What did I just do? I lied to my son. But I was unprepared and I knew the inevitable question was next, “Are you Santa Claus, too?”

bunny_king_santa

My husband chastised me. “You can’t lie. If he asks the question it means he’s ready for the answer.”

Well. That might be so. But maybe I’m not ready for the answer.

I’m not. Ready, that is. I fully believe in Santa Claus. Not in the concrete way that children do. But in the esoteric, allegorical sense. Think Miracle on 34th Street or the amazing Colonel Harry Shoup. And the Pollyanna in me clings to this belief for dear life.

I’ve tried to prepare for the inevitable. I’ve practiced speeches in my head. But I stumble and fail. I found this amazing letter that another mother wrote for her child. I’ve bookmarked it, hoping to be inspired when the time comes. But that moment will sneak up on me, just as it did the other day, and catch me by surprise. And I will bumble and fumble for the right words. I pray they come to me.

Think back to the time when you believed in Santa. This extraordinary man, who encourages goodness and kindness and magic. The joy, racing down the stairs, to see what was left under the tree. Finding just what you wanted and he only wanted a cookie, some hot chocolate and a carrot for his reindeer in return.

As my children grow older, I’m trying to come to terms that this magical time is ending. The mysteries of Santa will be revealed. And to those of you who have never lied to your children about this mythical man, you may now smile smugly as I wrestle with my lie and the fear that my children will lose confidence in me. I am a fraud, just as Santa Claus is a fraud, and I may never again be trusted.

Sigh.

“Will you put the dollar under his pillow?” I ask my husband.

“Me? Why me? You ALWAYS do it!” My husband is panicked and I try to get him to take the dollar.

“Well, that way I haven’t lied. I’m not the tooth fairy. You are.” Loopholes. I’m always on the lookout for loopholes.

“Well, I can’t. I mean. Uh. I don’t know how.” He stutters and stammers.

I glare at him. “You don’t know how? What is that supposed to mean? You slip your hand under his pillow, remove the tooth and leave a dollar in its place.”

He sheepishly trudges upstairs and I follow for moral support.

He tries to sneak his hand under the pillow but our son shifts in his sleep. “See? I’m going to screw it up.” He hisses.

I glare again.

He tries again, barely slipping his hand under the pillow and gives up. “I can’t find it. It’s not there.”

Ticked, I snatch the dollar, slip my hand under the pillow, immediately find the tooth and replace it with the dollar bill. My glare has now turned icy and menacing.

“You made a liar out of me,” I snarl.

My husband just stands there, with a sheepish grin.

I guess he’s not ready for the inevitable either.

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Filed under children, Holiday, Motherhood

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!

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Filed under Holiday