SANTA TO MAKE PRE-CHRISTMAS EVE INSPECTION


SANTA TO MAKE PRE-CHRISTMAS EVE INSPECTION OF SANTA TRACKER HEADQUARTERS AT NORAD
Flight by World-Famous Macy’s Santa to Help Children of our Fallen Military Heroes
Santa Offers Holiday Tips for Those Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 19, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Just before his epic flight on Christmas Eve, the world-famous Macy’s Santa will make a special trip on December 23rd to NORAD’s Santa Tracker headquarters. Santa’s special flight next week will provide support for children of our nation’s fallen military heroes who are involved with TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

As Santa’s Traveling Workshop, Santa’s flight on a Halcyon Jet will take him to NORAD’s Santa Tracker headquarters, where Santa will ensure that all is in order for Christmas Eve. He’ll also visit a household chosen by the winner of an online eBay auction and visit a children’s home or military base to talk with boys and girls. Proceeds from the auction will help children of our fallen military heroes.

Located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), has been in the business of tracking Santa on Christmas Eve for the past 50 years. The command will track Santa as he flies from New York City on December 23rd to the community selected by the winning auction bidder, welcome Santa to tour NORAD, and then track Santa back to the North Pole on December 23.

TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, will distribute toys provided by Santa and the workshop to children who have lost a parent. “Santa’s flight and toys will bring a lot of holiday cheer to children who have suffered a great loss and while also raising awareness for the ongoing programs that help children cope with their grief,” said Bonnie Carroll, founder and chairman of TAPS.

Because the holidays can be a difficult time for families who are grieving, said Carroll, Santa also will offer some tips during his December 23rd flight to help those who are supporting a bereaved child this holiday season. “Among children involved with TAPS, the one gift they most want is one that Santa can’t bring – the return of the parent or relative who died,” said Carroll. “We know that Santa is working hard to bring joy and holiday cheer to children who’ve suffered the death of someone they love, and his December 23rd flight shows he cares about them and will provide resources to help the children of our fallen military heroes.”

A few of the tips Santa offers are:

Make holiday plans that help your child feel nurtured, emotionally safe, and comfortable. Review your plans for the holidays with your child. Spend the holidays where you and your child feel supported, nurtured, and comfortable.

Allow your child to remember the person who died through a tribute. Light a candle together at dinner time to remember the person who died. Make a wreath with pictures and items that represent the things the lost loved one cared about and place it at the gravesite for the loved one. Hang an ornament on the tree that reminds the child of the loved one. Help your child offer a blessing at a holiday meal that honors the person who died. Create a picture or collage with your child, display a favorite photograph in your home, or let your child help you set a place at the dinner table to represent the loved one who died.

Laughter, play and joy are good for your child. Children do not grieve continuously and they need to take breaks from grieving. Encourage your child to play, run, and do recreational activities he or she would normally do. Clowning around and laughing (which releases endorphins into the brain) are good for children.

More tips on dealing with grief during the holidays for children and adults are available at www.taps.org<http://www.taps.org>.

Santa’s Traveling Workshop has brought toys and cheer to hundreds of thousands of children and families in need, beginning in December of 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It also delivered 100,000 toys to children from all walks of life on the National Mall in Washington, DC in 2006.

TAPS provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America, regardless of relationship to the deceased, geography, or circumstance of the death. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org<http://www.taps.org> or call the toll-free crisis line at 800.959.TAPS.

Media Contacts
Santa’s Traveling Workshop Media Contact: Travis Thomas, 858.759.2000

TAPS Media Contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, 202.588.TAPS, ami@taps.orgami@taps.org>

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