NORAD Tracks Santa

NORAD is responsible for two things: identifying potential nuclear strikes, and tracking Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world.

So, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) is keeping tabs on a certain man in red. How did one of the most serious intergovernmental organizations get wrapped up in this?

Well, back in 1955, a Sears department store ran an ad in a local newspaper, inviting children to telephone Santa Claus, and they included a number where he could be reached. Unfortunately, the telephone number was misprinted. The recipient of those calls? NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command.

The colonel on duty that night told his staff to give all children who called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. Bingo-bango, a Christmas Eve tradition is born. What’s even more bizarre is that this story is 100% true. Christmas magic, y’all!

Dinosaur Dracula

Don Draper said that nostalgia is a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.  Buzzfeed said that nostalgia is for ’90’s kids only, and number 8 will make you cry every time!

Nostalgia on the Internet rarely moves beyond “hey, remember this thing?” It’s seldom thoughtful or original. One site that bucks the trend is Dinosaur Dracula, a series of tributes to pop culture remembrances by writer Matt Cara.

As the site says, Cara celebrates the sheer joy of trivial things. Christmas is where the site really shines, as nothing is more trivial than a rundown of holiday-themed junk food (Gingerbread Oreos to Cheetos Sweetos!), except maybe a breakdown of the He-Man & She-Ra Castle Greyskull float from 1985 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with VHS-quality video uploaded to YouTube.

Cara gives every topic his full attention, and reading his stuff is like delving into the half-remembered ridiculousness of childhood, the real nitty-gritty details that only siblings or extremely close friends share. This is the stuff of Saturday mornings and Christmas holidays, mainlined straight into your nostalgia glands.

Portable North Pole 

Fact: kids love this site. Get personalized video messages from Santa Claus. Portable North Pole getting is ready to come online for the Christmas 2015 season, with its website and mobile apps (iOS and Android) set to return for another year.

As in previous years, the service will be free, with the option to pay for a “Premium” video message (don’t Grinch out on me just yet — PNP gives 5% of its revenues from online purchases to British hospitals).