Michelle Obama chats with kids across North America on Christmas Eve

Dec. 24, 2013 at 6:56 PM
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KAILUA, Hawaii, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama spent part of her Christmas Eve chatting on the phone with children as part of the U.S. military's Santa Claus tracking program.

Obama talked for about a half-hour Tuesday morning with nine children, ages 3-9, in communities across North America, from Kansas City to Canada's Ontario province, the White House said.

It was the fourth year the first lady has participated in the North American Aerospace Defense Command's NORAD Tracks Santa program.

The Santa-tracking program began in 1955 after a child in Colorado Springs dialed a misprinted telephone number in a newspaper advertisement and wound up calling the command's operations center. The commander on duty took the call and gave the youngster the information he sought -- Santa's whereabouts.

The White House said the Santa-tracking program's website receives millions of visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. More than 1,200 volunteers help handle the hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails received.

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