This Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), will once again track Santa, as he makes his trip around the world, bringing Christmas gifts to kids and kids at heart!
Since the tradition began in 1958, thousands of volunteers staff telephones…and now computers…to answer calls and e-mails from children (and adults) from around the world. Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site in seven languages, over telephone lines, and by e-mail to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.
Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.
This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and TroopTube.tv. To follow NORAD on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start tracking.
Or visit the offocial “NORAD Tracks Santa website” at www.noradsanta.org, where you can also find statistical and technical data on Santa’s sleigh. If you would like to call by phone, the NORAD Tracks Santa® Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 3:00a.m. MST on December 24th. You can call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location. Operators are available until 3:00a.m. on Dec. 25th to answer your calls!
To find Santa’s location by email, you can write, on December 24th, to firstname.lastname@example.org A NORAD staff member will give you Santa’s last known location in a return email. You can also track Santa on your mobile phone, through the official Windows 8 app, and you can even chat live with a NORAD operator to find out Santa’s location!
The NORAD Tracks Santa® program is made possible by volunteers and through the generous support of corporate licensees who bear virtually all of the costs.
How it all began…
NORAD Tracks Santa had a very interesting start! On Dec. 24, 1955, a call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. However, this call was not from the president or a general. It was from a girl in Colorado Springs who was following the directions in an advertisement printed in the local paper – she wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.
The ad said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.
On duty that night was Colonel Harry Shoup, who has come to be known as the “Santa Colonel.”
Colonel Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned in that night.
Thus began a tradition carried on by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.