HONOLULU — US Santa trackers got some help Saturday from none other than First Lady Michelle Obama, who surprised children by answering calls about Saint Nick’s Christmas Eve round-the-world sleigh ride.
Obama, vacationing in Hawaii with President Barack Obama and their two daughters, was participating for the second straight year in the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program, run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
“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,” the first lady said in a 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.”
NORAD’s Santa tracking tradition dates back to 1955.
The air command — which monitors the skies over Canada and the United States — makes every effort to locate Saint Nick, using no less than four high-tech systems: radar, satellites, “Santa Cams” and even fighter jets.
Children and the young at heart can track the jolly man in the big red suit online at noradsanta.org, which shows a map of Santa’s current location and provides constant updates in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
Norad Santa has also made his way to Facebook, where he has received “likes” from more than 940,000 visitors to his page.
“What has Santa been feeding these Reindeer? They’ve flown, warp-speed, through Balkanabat, Turkmenistan,” Norad posted on Facebook.
As of 0030 GMT Sunday, Santa’s reindeer-pulled sleigh was flying over London. “Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace — Santa is enjoying the sites and a spot of tea,” it said.