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Have you been a good girl? »How the US military began to monitor Santa Claus


Just before Christmas, the 92,000 elves responsible for making New Year's gifts for the little ones are struck by an unknown ailment! Santa has no choice but to harness his flying deer and rush to Earth to get medicine to cure dear helpers and save a wonderful holiday. One problem - no one recognizes in him the most important wizard in the world ... Such is the plot of the tale "Santa and Company."

The film repeatedly raises the reasonable question: why is Santa Claus dressed in green? After all, everyone is used to seeing him in red robes! The answer glides briefly, but we decided to linger on this question and find out not only the exact answer to it, but also find out other details from the life of the New Year's hero.

It turns out that the director and screenwriter of the comedy “Santa and Company” (he is also the lead actor) Alain Shaba thoroughly studied the issue of the right color for Santa’s clothes. He read all the stories related to Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas), and found out that ...

It happened only in the 30s of the last century.

In 1931, an advertising campaign was launched to increase sales of soft drinks in the winter. In this case, the appearance of Santa was used, developed by Haddon Sandblom. His drawings not only gave a second life to the main symbol of Christmas, but also turned it into a distinctive sign of Coca Cola.

Since then, everyone has represented Santa Claus as a respectable, well-fed old man, dressed in red. And he, with a bottle of soda in his hands, traveling on a reindeer sleigh and making his way through chimneys to children's homes to bring them presents, became not only an advertising symbol of Coca Cola, but the cheapest and most cost-effective photo model of all that the history of advertising business.

7,281,439,471 gifts

More specifically, according to the site on which NORAD publishes information about Santa Claus' movements, the Christmas wizard delivered 7,281,439,471 gifts in 2017.

Under the supervision of NORAD systems, the Santa Claus team was taken at 02:01 on December 24, according to the East Coast of Canada and the USA, or at 10:01 Moscow time.

The first point that Santa visited was the village of New Chaplino in the Chukotka Autonomous Region. Then his team was spotted several times over the territory of Russia, in particular, over Moscow, St. Petersburg and Volgograd.

Santa Claus does not shy away from the war zones either: according to NORAD, during the Christmas tour he also visited the capital of the DPR, the city of Donetsk.

When Santa appeared over North America, the military of the USA and Canada showed him signs of attention, like the head of state.

Escort for VIP team

For example, back in mid-December, the Department of Homeland Defense of Canada officially announced the selection of the four best pilots to “ensure the safe flight of Santa Claus magic sleigh” over the country.

«Captains pierre david boywin and Pierre-Claude Kirion from Quebec, selected to accompany Santa's sleigh in eastern Canada. Lt. Col. Forrest Rock and captain Kevin Mittholtz from the province of Alberta will monitor its safety in Western Canada, "- said in a statement posted on the official website of the department.

The fact that on Christmas Eve over the territory of Canada Santo was accompanied by four CF-18 fighters of the Canadian Air Force, representatives of NORAD reported.

Perhaps many may find it strange that the North American military enthusiasm for tracking Santa Claus. However, this story has nothing to do with the “witch hunt” and the search for the ominous “Russian trace”.

“Yes, I'm Santa”: how the space defense on duty “replaced” the wizard

It all started over 60 years ago. On December 24, 1955, the Sears retail chain posted an ad in a newspaper in Colorado Springs, which indicated a phone number for children to call and talk with Santa Claus himself.

But an error crept into the announcement: the number that was published belonged to the Continental Aerospace Defense Command Center (CONAD), located in Colorado Springs. And it was not just a phone: the number that was used in crisis situations got into the media.

The story could have ended without beginning, if that day a strict soldier on duty, faithful to the letter of the charter, was on duty in the center. However Colonel Harry Shope, obviously, did not forget that he himself was a child. Therefore, when instead of the usual roar of a superior general, he heard a child's voice in the receiver: “Are you really Santa?” - Shope managed to get his bearings.

“Yes, I'm Santa. Were you a good girl? ”The colonel asked, realizing that he was talking specifically with the girl.

“Yes, I behaved well,” the interlocutor replied, “Santa, I want to tell you that we have a fireplace at home.” And I know that you go down through the chimney. I will leave you some food, and I will also leave food for your deer. ”

"Wow! They will definitely appreciate it! ”Harry Shope answered, getting used to the role of Santa.

“She had a long wish list,” the colonel recalled many years later, “and I said:“ I’m sure if you tell your mother what you want, she will try to buy you everything. I’ll talk to your mother. ”

NORAD Tracks Santa

Schope wanted to talk with the girl’s mother for a reason: he needed to make sure that everything that happened was just an accident, and not a tricky move by foreign intelligence services. When it became finally clear that a misunderstanding had occurred, the colonel asked the other employees of the center to introduce themselves as Santa and speak with the calling children on behalf of the wizard.

Then, Shope turned to the higher command to publish a new announcement in the Colorado Springs newspaper: that CONAD is taking on the mission of tracking the movement of Santa Claus sleds from the North Pole. According to the colonel, such a move should have favorably affected the reputation of the military among the inhabitants of Colorado Springs.

The command liked the idea and was implemented. In 1958, CONAD was transformed into NORAD, but the tradition of “tracking Santa” has been preserved.

Harry Shope got the nickname "Colonel Santa." Over the years, the project has transformed from a local urban venture into an all-American one, and then into a worldwide one. It is called “NORAD Tracks Santa” (“NORAD Tracks Santa”).

From the fifties to 1996, the program used hotlines, newspapers, radio and television. Many North American television channels on Christmas Eve report Santa’s location in the weather forecast. Since 1997, the program also uses the Internet. All data can be found on the project website

“He will live in the hearts of millions as“ Colonel Santa “”

An entire volunteer group is working on the project today, and on Christmas Eve, Hollywood stars and other famous personalities join it.

According to NORAD, 47 radars deployed in the northern and eastern regions of Canada and the United States, as well as satellites equipped with infrared sensors are used to monitor Santa Claus' movements: they are believed to respond to thermal radiation coming from the red nose of the Rudolph deer. NORAD special digital cameras and video cameras are also involved, which are able to capture the appearance of Santa Claus anywhere in the world.

Harry Shope passed away in 2009 at the age of 92. In an obituary, the NORAD commander wrote: "He will live in the hearts of millions as" Colonel Santa. "