Patch wants to remind all Wellesley children, and their parents, that you can track Santa’s travels on Christmas Eve by
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) monitors the air around the world, around the clock, checking for unusual happenings in the skies. So, of course, NORAD simply can’t ignore a flying sleigh powered by nine reindeer.
NORAD Tracks Santa is an annual Christmas program, which has existed since 1955, produced under the auspices of NORAD. Every year on Christmas Eve, NORAD Tracks Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world.
Several high tech systems are used to track Santa, such as: radar, satellites, Santa Cams, and fighter jets.
According to several sources, 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 check on Santa Claus and included a telephone number for them to call.
However, the telephone number printed was incorrect 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 that 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.
These days NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program possible. Each volunteer handles about forty telephone calls per hour, and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries and territories. Most of these contacts happen during the twenty-five hours from 2 a.m. on December 24 until 3 a.m. MST on December 25.
The NORAD Tracks Santa program has always made use of a variety of media. From the beginning these were the telephone hotline, newspapers, radio, phonograph records and television. Many television newscasts in North America feature NORAD Tracks Santa as part of their weather updates on Christmas Eve.
The program now has a highly publicized internet presence with the “NORAD Tracks Santa” website, Patch.com, Google Earth, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Type in “noradsanta” into each site’s search engine to start tracking. And just as they did in 1955, children can call to check on Santa’s whereabouts, by calling 877-HI-NORAD.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!