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by MM&D Online Elf

WINNIPEG, Manitoba—For almost 60 years now, Santa Claus has been coming to the Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command region headquarters in Winnipeg for his annual pre-flight briefing.

Each year, the responsibility of watching over Old Saint Nick falls to Norad, the joint Canada/US military organization that keeps an eye on North American skies.

Santa met with military officials on Thursday to prepare for his annual trip around the globe in just three weeks’ time.

Lt.-Col. Darrell Marleau says keeping Santa “safe and on his route and getting all the toys and gifts to the kids” is the most important thing they do.

Once airborne on Christmas Eve, Santa will travel from east to west as he makes his way across Canada, escorted by Canadian fighter jets.

Once he completes his mission here, they will hand him over to American fighters as enters the US.

And of course he has help along the way.

“As soon as Santa calls me, my toes just goes and I’m ready to go,” said Santa’s elf Eugene.

Marleau had an extra request of Mr. Claus this year.

“We’ve got a lot of men and women throughout the world right now who are defending all of our principles and ideals so we have asked Santa to remember them especially,” he said.

And with safety check complete, the countdown to Christmas is on.

I love the anticipation of what the children will feel in the morning when they wake up and look under the tree and see what we’ve brought them,” said Santa.

Norad offers a live Santa tracking service at www.noradsanta.org.