Michelle Obama photo

Remarks by the First Lady to Children on NORAD Santa Tracker Calls

December 24, 2016

MRS. OBAMA: Hello! This is Michelle Obama, the First Lady. Who is on the phone?

ADILYN: Adilyn and Aiden.

MRS. OBAMA: Hey! How are you guys doing?

ADILYN: We're good.

MRS. OBAMA: You're pretty excited that tonight is Christmas Eve?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Yes, ma'am!

MRS. OBAMA: That sounds good. What do you want for Christmas? What's one of the things you're most excited to get tomorrow morning?

AIDEN: I'm hoping to get a hoverboard.

MRS. OBAMA: Ooh, those are pretty cool, huh?

ADILYN: I'm getting a hedgehog tomorrow.

MRS. OBAMA: Oh wow! That's going to be really good. Well, I know you guys are excited and you want to know the location of Santa right now -- is that why you called?

AIDEN: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, well, I am working with NORAD right now and I'm looking at the computer screen, and right about this time -- ooh, I'm detecting something on the radar screen. It is -- yes, it is Santa and he is being pulled by reindeer. He is flying right now over Malta. That's where he is. He's over that part of the world right now. And there is one lead reindeer with a shiny nose -- who do you think that is?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Rudolph!

MRS. OBAMA: That's Rudolph! He's pulling him hard and fast. And the weather looks pretty clear over Malta. And right after he flies over Malta, he's heading towards Italy -- Rome, Italy. So he is all the way on the other side of the world. He's in Europe right now, and he's heading your way!

So I think if you want Santa to get there before the morning, you guys have to go to sleep, okay?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: He's not going to show up until you're fast asleep, all right? I know it's exciting, but you've got to close your eyes, and the minute you close your eyes and he gets to that part of the world, he's going to drop off your toys, okay?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Yes, ma'am.

ADILYN AND AIDEN'S MOM: What's the weather in Hawaii?

MRS. OBAMA: The weather in Hawaii is beautiful. I'm looking at the sun right now -- it's sunny. It rained yesterday, we got soaking wet -- we were riding ATVs up in the mountains. But the weather is sunny. What's the weather there?

ADILYN AND AIDEN'S MOM: Oh, 70s and humid.

MRS. OBAMA: Oh! That's not bad! (Laughter.) So you guys are going to have a warm Christmas.

ADILYN AND AIDEN'S MOM: Yes, it's going to be nice and humid.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, well, Santa does all kinds of weather so he'll make it there with humidity or snow or even a little rain. So no need to worry. You guys have a very blessed and merry Christmas, okay?

ADILYN AND AIDEN'S MOM: Thank you. You too.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. We're proud of you two kids, okay?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, make sure you listen to your folks, okay?

ADILYN AND AIDEN: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right, have a great day tomorrow. Bye-bye.

ADILYN: You too.

AIDEN: Bye!

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Riley! This is Michelle Obama, the First Lady. How are you?

RILEY: Good!

MRS. OBAMA: You are good! How old are you, Riley?

RILEY: Five!

MRS. OBAMA: You're five? Wow. When was your birthday?

RILEY: December 19th.

MRS. OBAMA: Oh! You just turned five, right? Well, happy birthday to you. You're a big girl now. Well, I'm on the phone because I'm helping NORAD, the agency that tracks Santa. And I love talking to kids on Christmas Eve, and I try to help them find Santa. So I'm helping you tonight, because I know that's why you're calling, right? You want to find out where Santa is?

RILEY: Yeah.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, hey, well, I've got their big computer screen here. They gave me access. And I'm looking at the radar screen and I see Santa. I see his sleigh, it's full of toys, and he's got two, four, six, eight reindeer plus a lead reindeer. That's Rudolph. And they are right now flying over Sardinia, Italy.

RILEY: Wow!

MRS. OBAMA: Wow. Can you imagine? And they're flying really fast. So far, they have delivered over 3 million gifts.

RILEY: Wow!

MRS. OBAMA: So Santa has been working pretty hard, Riley. And he is heading your way -- did you know that?

RILEY: Santa?

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah. Well, what do you want from Santa? What did you ask for?

RILEY: Maybe, like, some building stuff.

MRS. OBAMA: Some building stuff? You're a builder?

RILEY: Yeah.

MRS. OBAMA: Do you like school? Are you doing well in school? Because you just started school, right?

RILEY: I'm in Kindergarten.

MRS. OBAMA: You are in Kindergarten -- wow. That's pretty special. Well, I know Santa knows that you've been a good girl --

RILEY'S MOM: Good boy.

MRS. OBAMA: (Laughter.) Well, here's the thing that I know, Riley. If you want Santa to get to your house, you know what you have to do?

RILEY'S MOM: What do you have to do, bud?

RILEY: Be good!

MRS. OBAMA: You have to be good and you have to go to bed when your mommy tells you to. I know it's exciting, but Santa won't come until you close your eyes and you're fast asleep, okay?

RILEY: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Well, you have a very merry, merry Christmas, okay?

RILEY: Okay. Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, sweetie. All right, you all take care. And bless you, guys -- have a great day tomorrow.

RILEY'S MOM: Merry Christmas! We love you guys!

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. You guys are awesome.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, April! It's Michelle Obama, the First Lady. How you doing?

APRIL: I'm doing good. How about yourself?

MRS. OBAMA: I'm doing really well. It's one of my favorite nights of the whole year -- I get to help NORAD track Santa for kids like you guys, who are trying to find out where he is, right?

APRIL: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: How old are you, April?

APRIL: I'm 13.

MRS. OBAMA: You're 13 -- awesome! What grade are you in?

APRIL: I'm in seventh grade.

MRS. OBAMA: Seventh grade -- so is that middle school for you now?

APRIL: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: How are you liking it? How's it going?

APRIL: It's going good.

MRS. OBAMA: That's good. You doing well in school? You enjoy it?

APRIL: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: That's good. Well, you're probably going to have a pretty good Christmas, aren't you?

APRIL: Yes, I am.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, I'm looking at the radar tracker right now, and I'm looking at this time -- I see a little dot on the radar screen, it's showing -- yes, it's showing Santa with his reindeer leading him. And he's flying fast. He's delivered over 3 million gifts so far. And right now he looks to be still flying over Sardinia, Italy. He's all the way in Europe right now. So he's moving pretty fast, and he's heading your way. But you know he's not going to get there until you go to sleep so it's your job to listen to your parents and get a good night's sleep so that when you wake up in the morning, Santa can make sure you've gotten all the gifts that you deserve this year. You ready for that?

APRIL: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Well, you shut your eyes and have a great night's sleep, and I know you're going to have a very special day tomorrow because you sound like a pretty special young lady.

APRIL: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, well, merry Christmas to you and your entire family, okay?

APRIL: Okay. Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: All right, take care, sweetie. Bye-bye.

APRIL: Bye!

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hello! This is Michelle Obama, the First Lady. I hear I've got four excited little kids on the phone. Who am I talking to?

MOM: Hey! We've got Ely and Austin and Ava and Lily here.

MRS. OBAMA: Oh my goodness! What a crew you have, mom! How you holding up?

MOM: Good! Two of them are mine and two of them are my niece and nephew. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: Oh, okay! All right, all right, now I feel better for you. (Laughter.) You've got a big crew over there, just like us. We've got about 15 kids in this house with us right now. (Laughter.) Well, who is going to be the spokesperson?

MOM: Austin, Eli, do you guys want to come over here? You've got to talk!

MRS. OBAMA: Hey, guys!

AUSTIN: Hi, Santa?

MRS. OBAMA: How you doing? This is Michelle Obama -- I'm the First Lady. And on Christmas Eve, I love helping NORAD help you guys find Santa.

AUSTIN: What time is Santa going to be here?

AUSTIN'S MOM: Can you say merry Christmas?

AUSTIN AND ELY: Merry Christmas, sweetie. Are you guys excited for tomorrow?

AUSTIN: What time will Santa be here?

AUSTIN'S MOM: Say yes.

AUSTIN: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, let's help you find out where Santa is. I'm looking at the satellite tracker and I'm -- oh my gosh! I can see it on the radar.

AUSTIN: Do you see Santa?

MRS. OBAMA: I see Santa in his sleigh. It's a big red sleigh and it's full of toys. And I see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight reindeer, and another to lead -- that is Rudolph! He's pulling -- he's leading the whole pack.

AUSTIN: Rudolph is leading the sleigh tonight!

MRS. OBAMA: He is! Rudolph is leading the sleigh, and his red nose is glowing. It's so exciting. Well, you know where they are right now? They are --

AUSTIN: We don't --

MRS. OBAMA: What, sweetie?

AUSTIN: We don't see him.

AUSTIN'S MOM: We'll find a picture. I promise.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, if you go on to the website, you'll be able to see them flying. But right now, at this time, Santa is flying over a place called Corsica, France. He's all the way in Europe!

AUSTIN'S MOM: He's in France right now! How cool is that?

AUSTIN: I need to tell you something. He is going to come tonight.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, he is! He's going to make it to your house. You're in North Carolina, right?

AUSTIN: Yep.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, yeah, he knows where you guys are. He's watching you. He's been watching you all year, and he knows you guys --

AUSTIN: I'm going to move to another house.

MRS. OBAMA: You're going to move? Well, he's going to be able to find you no matter where you go. That's the special thing about Santa. But you know, Santa only comes when you're fast asleep -- do you know that?

AUSTIN: Yep. What are you eating for dinner?

AUSTIN'S MOM: We've got to make sure that you're asleep for when Santa comes, right?

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah!

AUSTIN: Mm-hmm. I want to hear Santa talk.

AUSTIN'S MOM: Well, hold on. This is one of Santa's helpers. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: Well, yeah, Santa is very busy. He can't talk tonight because he's delivering all the gifts. Do you know how many gifts he's delivered already? He's delivered over 3 million gifts already! Isn't that exciting?

AUSTIN'S MOM: That's a lot!

MRS. OBAMA: That's a lot of gifts. Okay, you guys --

AUSTIN: Are you up at the North Pole?

MRS. OBAMA: I'm not at the North Pole right now. I'm in Hawaii, but I'm helping because I have access to the satellite information, because I live with the President and we have a lot of official equipment that travels with us. So I can see from the satellite where Santa is, because I'm helping him out tonight. I feel very honored to be helping Santa out tonight.

AUSTIN'S MOM: Pretty neat, isn't it?

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, it's a real honor. All right, you guys. You have to listen to your mom. And when she tells you it's bedtime, you've got to go to bed, okay?

AUSTIN: Wah!

MRS. OBAMA: You guys have a very merry Christmas. It sounds like it's going to be fun over there.

AUSTIN: Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: All right. You guys be good, okay?

AUSTIN: Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: Bye, sweeties!

AUSTIN'S MOM: Bye!

MRS. OBAMA: All right, thanks so much. You guys have a great day tomorrow.

AUSTIN'S MOM: All right, you too. Merry Christmas.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, is Jaden there? Hello, Jaden, can you hear me?

JADEN: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Jaden, this is Michelle Obama. I'm the First Lady, and I'm here at NORAD, and I'm helping them track Santa. Is that why you called?

JADEN: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: You'd like to find out where Santa is right now?

JADEN: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, I'm looking at the satellite radar screen, and I can see that Santa right now is flying over a country called Croatia, which is all the way in Europe. It's all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. But he's flying really fast. He's got eight reindeer that are being led by Rudolph, because I can see -- because there's one in front with a shiny nose, and we know who that is, right?

JADEN: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer!

MRS. OBAMA: That's the red-nosed reindeer, that's right. So he's going to be heading your way pretty fast, but he doesn't get to your house, Jayden, until you're fast asleep. That's one of the Santa rules. I know it's an exciting night tonight, but he's going to come as soon as you close your eyes and you're fast asleep. Are you ready for that?

JADEN: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Are you going to have a good Christmas tomorrow?

JADEN: Yes! Can't sleep!

MRS. OBAMA: I know it's so exciting! Well, make sure you listen to your mom and dad tonight, okay? You listen to the grownups over there when they tell you to go to bed, okay?

JADEN: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. And you be good, and have a wonderful day tomorrow, okay? It's going to be very special for you.

JADEN: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Merry Christmas, sweetie. Thank you for calling.

JADEN: Merry Christmas!

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, is this Gage?

GAGE: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: Hi, Gage! This is Michelle Obama, the First Lady. I'm working at NORAD tonight, helping little boys and girls who want to track Santa. Is that why you called?

GAGE: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: You're looking for Santa? Okay, I'm going to look at the satellite radar screen right now. And oh my goodness, Gage, I can see Santa right now. He's flying -- at this point in time, he is flying over Albania. Can you believe that?

GAGE: Nope.

MRS. OBAMA: Albania is a country all the way on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and near Europe. And he is flying with eight reindeer, but I see a lead -- I can see a lead reindeer with a shiny nose. Who do you think that is, Gage?

GAGE: Rudolph.

MRS. OBAMA: That is Rudolph. And I can see that Santa's sleigh is packed full of toys, probably for good little boys and girls like you. Have you been good this year, Gage?

GAGE: Yes, ma'am.

MRS. OBAMA: I bet you have. Well, you know how many gifts Santa has delivered already tonight? Over 3 million presents he's already delivered! He's been working so hard, Gage. But he's not going to stop until he gets to you, okay?

GAGE: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: But he doesn't get to your house until you're fast asleep, sweetie, okay?

GAGE: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: So when your folks tell you to go to bed, you've got to listen, okay?

GAGE: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: I know it's an exciting night, but once you put your head on the pillow and you close your eyes and you have good dreams, when you wake up in the morning, Santa will have come, all right?

GAGE: All right.

MRS. OBAMA: You have a great day tomorrow, sweetie, okay?

GAGE: Okay.

MRS. OBAMA: And thank you for calling!

GAGE: Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, merry Christmas to your whole family, all right, sweetie?

GAGE: Bye!

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, bye-bye.

***

MRS. OBAMA: Hi! Who am I speaking with? This is Michelle Obama, the First Lady, and I'm helping NORAD track Santa for kids tonight. Who is calling?

RYAN: Ryan.

MRS. OBAMA: It's so good to hear from you! How old are you?

RYAN: Ten.

MRS. OBAMA: You are ten! Wow! This is an exciting night, isn't it?

RYAN: Yup, it sure is.

MRS. OBAMA: It's one of the most exciting nights of the year.

RYAN: We're tracking Santa on the computer.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, I am watching Santa right now. I can see him pulling his reindeer, pulling them fast. They are moving so fast.

RYAN: Yeah, they sure are.

MRS. OBAMA: They are moving. And can you see that the sleigh is packed full of toys?

RYAN: Yeah.

MRS. OBAMA: Pretty amazing! Right now, according to my records here, he's flying over Venice, Italy. But he's moving. He moves at the speed of light. So even as we speak, now he's somewhere else.

RYAN: Yeah, on the computer, he's in Italy too.

MRS. OBAMA: You see that? Well, we're looking at the same information.

RYAN: Yep.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, yeah, so here's the thing, though -- Santa won't make it to your house until you're fast asleep. That's the deal. No matter where he is in the world.

RYAN: Like, around midnight?

MRS. OBAMA: What did you say, babe?

RYAN: Like, around midnight.

MRS. OBAMA: Is that when you're going to go to bed?

RYAN: Uh, no. I'm going to be asleep at midnight!

MRS. OBAMA: That is perfect.

RYAN: I was asking if he was coming at midnight.

MRS. OBAMA: He is going to come whenever you're fast asleep. So whenever that is, that's when he's going to come.

RYAN: It depends on where he is.

MRS. OBAMA: He's going to pop -- he can fly all over the world at the speed of light. So not every kid goes to bed at the same time, right?

RYAN: Right.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, so he's got to -- he knows when you go to sleep, right?

RYAN: Yes. I'm going to bed at eight.

MRS. OBAMA: At eight? Okay, that sounds like a good plan. And he's going to know when you're fast asleep. Because you know how sometimes you say you're asleep and you're not really?

RYAN: Yeah. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah -- he knows. So he's not going to come until he knows that you are fast asleep, okay?

RYAN: Until he knows I'm dreaming and not noticing that he's even here.

MRS. OBAMA: That's exactly right. You have to be fully dreaming. So here's what you have to do -- you have to get all the antsy nerves out that keep you awake. And you've got to just relax so that you drift off into a peaceful sleep, okay?

RYAN: Yup.

MRS. OBAMA: And when you wake up in the morning, what's going to happen?

RYAN: I'm going to wake up, like, around seven, and then I'm going to go downstairs, and my dad is going to take pictures of me. And I'm going to look at my presents that Santa gave me overnight.

MRS. OBAMA: It's going to be so good, isn't it?

RYAN: Yep.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, it sounds like you are going to have a very merry Christmas tomorrow.

RYAN: I sure am. I'm having a merry Christmas Eve.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, it's just been so good -- so exciting! Well, thank you for calling, sweetie. I hope I helped you out!

RYAN: Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, well, tell your whole family merry Christmas for me, okay?

RYAN: All right.

MRS. OBAMA: All right. Take care, sweetie. Have a good night.

RYAN: You too.

MRS. OBAMA: Bye-bye.

***

KIRSTEN: Hi, Mrs. Obama!

MRS. OBAMA: Hey! How are you guys doing?

KIRSTEN: We're doing good. How are you?

MRS. OBAMA: I'm doing great. I'm excited, because it is Christmas Eve! How about you guys?

KIRSTEN: We're really excited.

MRS. OBAMA: This is the best night of the whole year. What do you guys want for Christmas?

KIRSTEN: Well, I want a drone.

JOSHUA: Hot Wheels garage!

MRS. OBAMA: Ooh! My brother, when he was little, loved Hot Wheels. I'm glad to know that they're still around because those are pretty cool. Are you guys calling to find out where Santa is?

KIRSTEN: Yeah.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, that's my job tonight. I'm helping out Santa -- one of my favorite things to do. I'm looking at the satellite tracker at this moment, and it is showing -- oh my goodness! Kirsten, Joshua -- I am looking, and I can see Santa in his sleigh.

KIRSTEN AND JOSHUA: (Gasps.)

MRS. OBAMA: It is a big red sleigh and it is packed full of presents. And let me count -- I can see two, four, six, eight reindeer and one lead reindeer. Who do you think that lead reindeer is?

KIRSTEN: Is it Rudolph?

MRS. OBAMA: I see a shiny nose -- it's blinking! I see a little light blinking. That has got to be Rudolph, don't you think?

KIRSTEN AND JOSHUA: (Gasps.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, and he is moving at the speed of light. Right now, he is flying over Hungary. Do you know where Hungary is?

KIRSTEN: Mmm -- I don't think so.

MRS. OBAMA: It's all the way on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

KIRSTEN: Wow!

MRS. OBAMA: And it's around where Europe is -- all those countries over there. But Santa can be anywhere at the speed of --

JOSHUA AND KIRSTEN: Light!

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, he moves pretty fast. But he's not going to get to your house in Orlando, Florida until you guys are fast asleep -- did you know that?

KIRSTEN: Yup.

MRS. OBAMA: And that's a hard thing to do on Christmas Eve because everything is just so exciting, isn't it?

KIRSTEN: Yeah.

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, but you've got to kind of calm your nerves. And when your parents tell you that it's time to go to bed, you've got to get in there, put your head on your pillow, and think good thoughts, and just try to go to sleep. And as soon as you both are fast asleep, he is going to come and deliver toys to you guys. And it's going to be good. It's going to be a great day tomorrow for you. I am very happy for you two. All right, you ready for that?

KIRSTEN AND JOSHUA'S DAD: Thank you so much, Mrs. Obama!

MRS. OBAMA: Okay, you guys have a great Christmas, okay?

KIRSTEN AND JOSHUA'S DAD: You too -- merry Christmas!

JOSHUA: Merry Christmas!

MRS. OBAMA: All right, you guys, take care. Bye-bye. Goodnight!

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady to Children on NORAD Santa Tracker Calls Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320842

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