First Lady Michelle Obama Helps Track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve

First lady Michelle Obama spent some time Saturday answering calls from children across the country who were hoping to find out where Santa is on Christmas Eve.

First Lady Michelle Obama reacts while talking on the phone to children across the country as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program. Mrs. Obama answered the phone calls from Kailua, Hawaii, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama continues the tradition of responding to the calls made by children from across the country, who are very excited and curious to know where Santa Claus is on Christmas Eve.

Just like last year, Michelle Obama took calls from the NORAD Tracks Santa program which is run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, an administration official said.

“I’ve spotted a little dot, flashing dot that is over – right now, Santa’s sleigh is over the country of Latvia. And he’s delivering toys there,” CNN reported quoting Obama.

“It looks like he’s got all nine reindeer with him. And it looks like that sleigh is pretty full – yep, that’s what the experts here are saying.”

U.S. First Lady took the phone calls from Hawaii where the first family is vacationing for Christmas. Using the Google map, Obama tracks Santa’s toy delivery route, which is created by the North American Aerospace Command, known as NORAD.

A small Santa image with nine reindeers is used to locate his current position while a countdown clock below the map shows where Santa will take his sleigh next.

“Hello, this is First Lady Michelle Obama with NORAD Tracks Santa. How may I help you?” said Obama and gave kids the exact location of Santa using NORAD’s global Santa Tracker.

“It is wonderful to be part of this holiday tradition. I love answering calls from children who were anxious to learn where Santa was and when he would arrive at their home,” said the first lady in a NORAD statement.

“I passed on to each child the current location of Santa and reminded them that he would come to their house only after they were in bed sleeping.”

The president had delayed joining his family in Hawaii until Congress passed a deal to extend the payroll tax cut. He departed Washington on Friday shortly after signing the two-month extension.

For the second year in a row, Obama was one of the 1,200 volunteers who answer phone calls and e-mails from children around the world.

Tracking Santa seems to be a natural seasonal extension of NORAD’s typical duties. “His flight is something that we absolutely would track,” said Lieutenant Commander Bill Lewis, a NORAD spokesman. “Rudolph’s nose helps us quite a bit with that. His nose puts off quite the heat signature,” Lewis said.

The origins of tracking Santa date back to 1955, Lewis said, when a local ad to speak directly with Santa printed the wrong phone number – instead directing children to a military defense operations center. Tracking Santa grew from there after officers on duty actually fielded the kids questions, he said.

For more than 50 years NORAD has followed the flight path of jolly old Saint Nick, but these days technology helps children and families pinpoint Santa’s more exact route to their own homes. This year, kids can download mobile device apps to watch Santa and the reindeer traverse the globe.

Otherwise, they can call or email the command center for Santa’s coordinates. Last year, 1,250 military families, civilians and local volunteers from around Colorado Springs took shifts at NORAD’s facility to field more than 80,000 calls and countless emails from children asking where Santa is and when he might be coming down their chimney.

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