Google Earth Santa

When we were kids, man we had it rough.  Not only did I have to walk to school in blistering Phoenix heat, uphill both ways (actually, it was rather flat, and I typically rode my bike), but our belief in Santa had be based on very little evidence, and shady at best.  Try believing in something when you are surrounded by really terrible Santa impersonators, the best cartoons we had were rough clay animation, and the best source of actual, cold hard data was a crappy NORAD radar tracking broadcast from a local news channel on Christmas eve!  I never could figure out why an event of this magnitude only warranted 30 seconds of coverage during the weather report?

Kids nowadays have it great.  Not only are their lives filled with authentic, caring Santas at every mall, but they have "proof of life" at their fingertips!  Take, for instance.  With a few clicks on your computer (or for those more mobile souls, using the convenient iPhone app), you can have a completely personalized and authentic YouTube video produced with all the information and factual evidence to satisfy even the most curious child.

Our five year old, who already shares the namesake of Mr. Kringle (Christopher), recently mailed a letter to Santa via his Elf on the Shelf, Santo.  Within 24 hours, he had received a YouTube video, courtesy of, which nailed exactly the circumstances around sending the letter.  The actual video can be found HERE.

And, although this pretty much solidified it for him (and even me a bit), there was more.  Santa also went social this year, with UK-based company O2.  By simply tweeting a message to @O2, and using the hash message #O2Santa, Santa will produce a short YouTube video reading the message you sent.  Of course, he looks slightly different and now has a British accent, but as a kid, who cares?  He's a believer.

And, as if that wasn't enough, NORAD has partnered with Google Earth to provide state of the art Santa tracking.  Growing up, this was the best we could get:

Now, you can track Santa on Google Maps or on Google Earth.  With all of this evidence, I have to admit ... I'm sorta starting to believe.  Which, based on his location over the Phillipines right now, means I have to get all my stuff done today before he gets here!

Merry Christmas!