It’s Christmas Eve 2017, and NORAD, (The North American Aerospace Defense Command), is once again tracking Santa Claus as he makes his yearly lap around the globe. NORAD has tracked the big guy for 62 years, starting in 1955.
It’s hard to believe this beloved holiday tradition began because of a misprinted phone number in a Sears holiday newspaper ad.
NORAD Tracks Santa
The program began on December 24, 1955, when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number was misprinted and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.
In 1997, NORAD began posting Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve on a website that has grown to be a popular destination for parents and kids who want to track Santa as he makes his lightning fast deliveries.
NORAD reported that for Christmas 2013, it logged 19.58 million unique visitors to its website on Christmas Eve, and 1,200 volunteers answered 117,371 calls. Through social media, it had 146,307 Twitter followers and 1.45 million “likes” on Facebook
In addition to tracking Santa on Christmas Eve, the website also offers Santa’s Village, which includes a collection of holiday-themed activities, including games, movies and books, as well as a gift shop where you kids (or you) can get a personalized NORAD Santa Tracker certificate, print a personalized letter from Santa and other merchandise. All of this will keep the kids occupied while you put together that bike, and figure out how to hook up an Xbox…
Merry Christmas everyone!