NORAD Tracks Santa, Critics Hop On

    December 18, 2013
    Mike Tuttle

NORAD Tracks Santa has brought excitement to children around the world since 1955. The Christmas-themed program is produced under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and has been found in various forms of media over the years: telephone hotlines, television, internet, and mobile media.

But this year the program has come under attack. According to Yahoo News, a children’s advocacy group says the video on the website injects militarism into Christmas by showing fighter jets escorting Santa’s sleigh.

This video on NORAD’s Santa website started the commotion two weeks ago:

U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a NORAD spokesman, says that the fighter escort is nothing new, that jets began accompanying Santa’s sleigh in the 1960s, and insists that the fighters are unarmed.

“We really do feel strongly that it’s something that is safe and non-threatening, and not something that would negatively impact children,” he said. “In fact, we think that it’s a lot of fun.”

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood disagrees, saying that the video brings violence to a beloved tradition.

This controversy has sparked up a lot of talk on social media sites like Twitter.

The first 39-second video has gotten nearly 265,000 views on YouTube.

“That’s way off the charts for any other videos we’ve done before,” Davis said.

Now there is a second video, longer and fast-paced, on the NORAD site and YouTube called “NORAD Tracks Santa Command Video 2013,” which has already drawn over 121,000 views.

“This is very much a fun and safe and nonviolent site that children of all ages can visit,” Davis said. “Parents can be confident their children will walk away (and) have had fun and potentially have learned something, too.”

Fans of all ages can follow Santa on the web, Facebook, Twitter, by phone (starting 4 a.m. MST on Christmas Eve): 877-HI-NORAD, and even via email:

Image via Wikimedia Commons