In a broadcast interview on Friday, U.S. Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), concluded his discussion on terrorism with the enjoinment that children “go to bed on time because Santa only visits houses where kids are sleeping.” NORAD is a joint organization between Canada and the U.S. that monitors the skies and seas of North America, providing air sovereignty enforcement, defense, and aerospace warning for the two countries. But every Christmas Eve since 1955, this group, one of the most technologically advanced military commands in the world, adds Santa to its list of monitored parties.

Over the last several hundred years, the Santa Claus story has changed very little. From a literary standpoint, the tradition of NORAD Tracks Santa is one of the very few modern additions to the tale that has survived beyond the span of an ad campaign. Taking the element of the narrative that involves Santa’s travels around the globe, NORAD infuses the folk tale with a bit of twenty-first century technology. It is due to traditions like these that Santa and his story continue to not only charm but truly touch so many people. Last year alone, NORAD answered 74,000 phone calls and 3.500 e-mails for Santa. Clearly, NORAD’s techie addition to the tale represents a significant link between the fairy tale of Santa Claus and the children of the Computer Age.

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