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Where’s Santa?

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The story behind OnStar’s unlikely partner in the search for Santa Claus

On Dec. 24, 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., received a call from a young child wanting to know Santa’s whereabouts. The youngster was following directions from a local newspaper ad that urged children to call Santa’s phone number to speak to him. However, the child reached a wrong number, which happened to be that of CONAD.

Col. Harry Shoup was in charge that night and directed his operators to find Santa’s location and report it to every child who called in. He later became known as the “Santa Colonel.”

The crew enjoyed delighting children so much it began a tradition that carried through when CONAD transitioned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in 1958. Today, NORAD continues to locate and protect Santa Claus, thanks to satellite systems, high-powered radars and jets, as he makes his Yuletide journey. On Dec. 24, about 1,500 volunteers staff phones and computers to answer calls and emails from around the world.

For the last decade, OnStar has teamed up with NORAD to help magnify the wonder of Christmas for thousands of children on the road. Each Christmas Eve, OnStar Members and their families can push their blue OnStar button to learn Santa’s location as he journeys across the globe spreading presents, goodwill and joy. And when children who are traveling or who have recently moved fear Santa won’t know where to find them, a helpful, live OnStar Advisor is there to assure kids that their presents will be under the tree on Christmas morning.

“Each Christmas Eve, OnStar Advisors get such satisfaction being able to share the Christmas spirit and bring joy to the hearts of our Members across the country,” says Tracy Pruehs, a Customer Experience Leader at OnStar. “Children are awestruck to learn Santa’s location as he and his reindeer make their way across the globe to their homes.”

OnStar Members with a paid plan*1 can push their blue OnStar button between 6 a.m. EST Christmas Eve and 5 a.m. EST Christmas Day to find Santa and his reindeer. Best of all, with every Santa call across North America of the blue OnStar button across North America, OnStar will donate US$1 to the Red Cross up to US$3,000*47. If you’re not in your vehicle, visit noradsanta.org to check Santa’s progress. Or, visit @NORADSanta on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NORADTracksSanta for his location. St. Nick’s location is updated continuously.