Return to Home Page

December 24, 2009

Tracking Santa

Weather Bureau Topics, December 1958

Perhaps the most prolific traveler of the season is none other than Old Saint Nick himself. In order to deliver presents to an estimated 800 million households across the world in one evening, he must travel more than 5 million kilometers per hour.

While an especially American phenomenon, Santa Claus has roots throughout Europe. Saint Nicholas of Myra, now a part of Turkey, was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, and people still hang stockings at the chimney in his name.

Odin and Sleipnir by Terra Marie Bidlespacher

Odin, the Norse god, would ride his flying horse, Sleipnir, and reward children for their kindness with gifts or candy. In The Netherlands and Belgium, Sinterklaas is aided by helpers commonly known as Zwarte Piet. The first depiction of a roly-poly jolly old fellow is through Britain in the 17th century as Father Christmas, typifying the spirit of good cheer, and was reflected as the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In America, Sinterklaas was first Americanized into “Santa Claus” in 1773.

Santa Claus in Camp, Christmas 1862

His modern image is due in large part to Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century, and the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” which appeared in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823, written by Clement Clarke Moore.

Whereas children of yore may have been nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads, today’s laptop and wireless enabled kids can track Santa’s whereabouts using NORAD’s Santa Tracker. For over 50 years, they have tracked Santa’s Christmas Eve flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the NORAD operations “hotline.” The Director at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Tonight, children can follow Santa on his journey using Google Earth, updated every 5 minutes.

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: General


3 Responses to “Tracking Santa”

  1. All that glitters is silicon » Blog Archive » Tracking Santa Says:

    [...] Tracking Santa VagabloggingWhile an especially American phenomenon, Santa Claus has roots throughout Europe. [...]

  2. Newz Source » Blog Archive » » Tracking Santa :: Vagablogging :: Rolf Potts Vagabonding Blog Says:

    [...] » Tracking Santa :: Vagablogging :: Rolf Potts Vagabonding Blog [...]

Leave a Reply

Main

Bio

Books

Stories

Essays

Video

Interviews

Events

Writers

Marco

Paris

Vagabonding.net

Contact


Vagabonding Audio Book at Audible.com

Marco Polo Didnt Go There
Rolf's new book!


Vagabonding
   Vagabonding

RECENT COMMENTS

M.Jagger: Rod, Blimey….It was a blast partying with you at the local...

Ava Collopy: I’m currently working on a new book and website project to represent...

Caroline Macomber: I’m beginning to feel that it doesn’t end. But that I...

Stephen: Does it end, though? I’ve gone through several cycles of this over the...

Margie: I will never be a tour guide, but the prospective you have shown here will help...

Lynne Nieman: Well said! Although not a long term traveler like you, I have taken a few...

Dorje: Hi all. I was born in Kathmandu in ’71, my father ran the Rose Mushroom...

Gerry: Just reading Maureen’s comments [12thMay2014], My girlfriend and I had a...

jameselgringo: Perhaps you give too much emotional capital to money and its perceived...

Roger: He prefers traveling alone, actually.

SPONSORED BY :



CATEGORIES

TRAVEL LINKS

ARCHIVES

RECENT ENTRIES

Long term travel with a family: You have to really want to do this
Alden Jones on going back to the places that obsess you
My top beaches around the world
Skepticism and salvation in Cyprus
Vagabonding Case Study: Denise Diamond
Locked in or locked out- when switching it up means going home
Vagabonding Case Study: Christine Kaaloa
Vagabonding Book Club: Chapter 10
Travel writing has a way of being perishable
Lessons from a tour guide, part I


Subscribe to this blog's feed
Follow @rolfpotts