Obama family celebrates Christmas in Hawaii – CBS News

The Obama family spent their sixth annual Christmas on vacation in Hawaii with presents, carols and a focus on thanking members of the military.

On Christmas Eve, the president made phone calls to service members from each branch of the military who are currently stationed around the globe to express gratitude for their service. On the afternoon of Christmas Day, he and first lady Michelle Obama planned to visit members of the military and their families at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii.

The family opened Christmas gifts and sang carols in the morning, the White House said.

Michelle Obama also took part in an annual tradition of answering phone calls from children asking where Santa is located as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. This is the fifth year she has helped answer calls, spending about 30 minutes on the phone with children.

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First Lady Michelle Obama answers children’s calls to the NORAD Santa Tracking program on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2014.
White House Photo

The NORAD program began in 1955 after a local newspaper ad gave out a misprinted telephone number for children to call Santa, which was actually the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The commander on duty gave a young child who called information on the supposed whereabouts of Santa, and the program was continued when NORAD was formed in 1958.

The program went digital in 1998, and now millions of unique visitors from around the globe track Santa’s location each year, or they can call a live Operations Center staffed with more than 1,200 volunteers.

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