NORAD Santa Tracker under fire for giving Santa a fighter jet escort

Santa and his reindeer have some company this year: military fighter jets. And that has some people very unhappy, saying it is a thinly veiled marketing video aimed at children.

NORAD is equating jolly old St. Nick and the military in the minds of kids, one psychologist said.

Santa means presents, good times and “everything else that is positive about Christmas,” Allen Kanner, a child and family psychologist, told the Boston Globe. The co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said the Pentagon has gone too far.

The associate director of the campaign, Josh Golin, goes a step further. He told CNN that it was “a back-door way to market” the military to kids. The Pentagon took this holiday tradition and added “violence and militarism,” he said.


The controversy stems from a teaser video unveiled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the joint U.S.-Canada force.

Each Christmas Eve, NORAD volunteers operate Santa Tracker, which has become a beloved holiday tradition in part because it keeps children out of the way while parents are busy doing, well, all that stuff that parents do on Christmas Eve.

Watch this 39-second video, which gives kids a taste of what’s to come when Santa and his reindeer take to the skies, and toward the end you’ll see that Santa has some company: two military jets escorting him as he makes his way through the evening skies.

NORAD seems to be standing its ground in this controversy: NORAD is the military, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told the Globe, “and this is our mission.”


What do you think? Add this to the list of First World Problems? Or do you see this as a serious breach? Tell us why in the comments section below.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? (Either way, I don’t judge.) Join me on Twitter @renelynch


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