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Potomac News

Web site tracks Santa's travels

Potomac News, Woodbridge, VA
Headline - Front Page
December 24, 2000


By CARYN GOEBEL
Staff Writer


The excitement of Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve can make some young children so giddy that they can't nestle in for the night.

But Dale City resident Jeff Guide knows the trick on how to get those visions of sugar plums dancing in your youngster's head.

Log on to Christmasevewithsanta.com and follow the travels of Santa Claus as he makes his rounds across the globe.

"When Santa hits the Eastern Shore, they know they have to get to bed," Guide said.

As designer of the popular Web site, Guide said families can follow St. Nick's progress tonight as he delivers gifts around the world via the Santa Scope, Santa Radar or Santa Cam.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., when Santa leaves the North Pole, through 1:30 a.m., when he leaves the West Coast, the video cam will highlight the jolly man as he passes through major cities in the United States.

Using Santa Radar, children can catch a satellite view of St. Nick with his miniature reindeer and sleigh crossing the world.

Christmasevewithsanta.com is an offshoot of Guide's original Web site, Santaland.com, the first Christmas Web site on the Internet.

Now celebrating 10 years on the Internet, Santaland.com gets an average of 700,000 visitors during its season of October, November and December.

"It will probably hit about a million visits this year by the time Christmas rolls around," Guide said.

Santaland.com provides Christmas-related content for all members of the family, from online chats with Santa Claus to a variety of holiday stories, arts and crafts ideas, recipes and nostalgic traditions families can begin in their own homes.

Guide created Santaland.com as a gopher site for a national online service. The Web site was launched in December 1991 to test public interest in the Internet.

"Interest in the site was so overwhelming during the 1991 holiday season that the company's mainframe crashed several times," Guide said. "By the next year, the company was prepared for the traffic and everything went smoothly."

In 1995, Guide made the site its own domain, adding features and information every year.

There are always those questions children ask that parents find themselves stammering to answer.

How does Santa make it around the world in such a short time?

What's the second verse of Jingle Bells?

What do we do if we don't have a chimney for Santa to get down?

Guide's Web site provides the answers for these types of things, and more.

But his love for Christmas is only a hobby. On a full-time basis, Guide is employed with the Library of Congress and also serves as vice chairman at the Soil and Water Conservation District.

Guide remembers as a child growing up in East Brunswick, N.J., the weather man on television saying Santa Claus was spotted over some portion of the world and that he would be in the United States soon.

"That's all we had to go on," Guide said.

Christmasevewithsanta.com lets families follow Santa together and helps the excitement build, Guide said.