NORAD Tracks Santa Facebook page
NORAD Santa Tracker participants help answer phone calls during the Christmas season.
For those children who stay up late waiting to see Santa, there are resources you may not know about to track the elusive big man.
Websites such as Google Santa Tracker and Santa Update provide live coverage of Santa’s whereabouts during the Christmas season. For parents who want to maintain the magic of Christmas for their kids, these sites can help keep the holiday spirit alive and well.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa for decades now. And no, it is not because Santa made the naughty list. According to NPR, the tradition began because of a misprint in a Sears advertisement in 1955.
The ad had listed a number for kids to call and talk to Santa Claus. As has been reported by NPR, the number actually connected to a top secret military “red phone” at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) that was used to relay urgent information.
According to NORAD’s website, a little girl from Colorado Springs made a phone call on Dec. 24, 1955, that went through to the top secret line. Henry Shoup, a four-star general on duty that night, decided to have his operations team track Santa Claus instead of hanging up. That night, CONAD took calls from children to let them know where Santa was as he supposedly made his trip around the globe.
NORAD, a combined Canadian and United States organization whose mission is “aerospace defense cooperation,” took over the tradition of tracking Santa during the Christmas season. The group has been promoting the Christmas spirit ever since.
Now, over 1,500 volunteers spend time each Christmas answering calls and emails from young and old alike, according to NORAD’s website. The website also receives over 9 million unique visitors from more than 200 different countries and territories.