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Do you know what tradition Colonel Harry Shoup started?

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This Christmas The Flower Factory would like to share a little bit of history, and the origin of something you’re probably already quite familiar with.

Santa's Journey around the world.

Santa’s Journey around the world.

If you have children, or were born after 1955, you undoubtedly are familiar with NORAD’s Santa Tracker. NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense command, which is a joint military missile defense operation between the United States and Canada.

Each Christmas season since 1955, NORAD runs the Santa Tracker. The Santa Tracker keeps kids posted on exactly where in the world Santa is at any given moment, during his trip down from the North Pole. Children can tune in anytime to see just how far he is away from delivering presents to their home.

The tradition actually began by accident and it is quite an amazing story as told by Colonel Harry Shoup.

colShoup479

Colonel Harry Shoup

Shoup recalls that day in 1955 like this:

The red phone rang, and it was either the Pentagon calling or the 4 star General, General Partridge.

So I picked it up and I said “Yes sir, this is Colonel Shoup” and silence was heard. I said again “Sir, this is Colonel Shoup” still nothing. So I said “Sir, can you read me alright?”

Then from the other end of the phone a tiny voice spoke up and said “Are you really Santa Claus?”

george-marks-young-girl-talking-on-telephone

I looked around at my staff, and thought, somebody is playing a joke on me, and it’s not very funny!

So I said “Would you repeat that please?”

“Are you really Santa Claus?” the small voice said again.

I knew then that there was some kind of screw up with the phones. So I said “Yes this is Santa, have you been a good little girl?”

The little girl said “Oh yes, I’ve been good. I wanted to tell you that in our house we have a fireplace and I know you come down the fireplace, and I’m leaving some food for you, and I’m also leaving some food for the reindeer”

I said “Oh boy, they sure will appreciate that!”

Col Shoup continues his story saying that she had a big long list of what she wanted, and I said, “Well if you tell your mother what you want she’ll try to get you everything.”

I even said, “I’ll talk to your mother and I will tell her she better get you everything that’s on that list!”

Well I wasn’t very popular after saying that.

Still concerned that I was being tricked, I asked the little girl “May I speak with your mother please?”

The girl said “Yes, but will you bring me everything I want?”

And I said “Yes you just leave the list there, and make sure you leave some food, because I’ve got a lot of traveling to do.”

Then the girl asked “Well how do you do that? santa-magic1

I told her “That’s the magic of Christmas. If anyone asks, you just tell them ‘that’s the magic of Christmas’, and they better not ask any more questions because Santa will put them on the bad list and they won’t get anything.”

So that’s what started it. Apparently the local Sears store there ran an ad with a phone number that kids could call and tell one of Santa’s helpers what they wanted for Christmas.

Turns out, there was a typo in the ad and instead of getting the local Sears store when they called, kids ended up talking to CAD Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup on his very important red phone.

Sears Ad Typo SantaAfter a few calls from other kids wanting to talk with Santa, Shoup realized there was no way to change the ad or the number printed, so he told his staff to start giving out the location of Santa on his way down from the North Pole.

The media ran with the story and before long children from all over the United States and Canada were calling nonstop. For years after the phones were staffed with volunteers at Cheyenne Mountain and Peterson Air Force Base until the internet developed, and the tradition moved online in 1997.

To track Santa simply head over to www.noradsanta.org and see for yourself exactly where he is right now.

Why not leave him The Mrs. Fields® Holiday Tin with The Flower Factory’s favorite assortment of 48 Nibblers® Bite-Sized cookies, making it a perfect gift to leave for Santa.

For the reindeer, try our Exclusive Fresh Fruit & Savories Gift Box featuring crisp fresh apples and juicy oranges, two boxes of crunchy Three Pepper water crackers, smoked almonds, Napa Valley Mustard and Brie cheese. A perfect blend of energy driving treats, for the long trip around the world!

Have a very Merry Christmas, from all of us at

The Flower Factory!

Here is the original interview with Colonel Harry Shoup describing the event in his own words:

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