Old Saint Nick is the most cheerful blip on the radar today!
North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, has been tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve since 1955 and, while the technology has changed, this year is no different.
The NORAD Santa Tracker is run completely by volunteers at no cost to taxpayers, and as many as 1,500 will show up to work two-hour shifts beginning today. As this is going on, NORAD continues its normal defense of America‘s aerospace in a nearby classified facility.
This happy tradition is a nice change for the people who normally have the very serious job of watching for incoming missiles. It all began back in 1955 when the command center’s phone number was mistakenly printed as the number for a Santa hotline. The Colonel on duty at the time told his team to give Santa’s radar coordinates to any kid who called—and a tradition was born.
NORAD had partnered with Google for the Santa Tracker, but they parted ways amicably this year and are now working with Microsoft to provide the tracking service. Google Maps now has its own Santa Tracker, which can be viewed here. NORAD has also created a number of free games and apps for tracking Santa on various platforms. The Washington Post reported that NORAD had more than 1.7 million app downloads as of Christmas Eve.
To track Santa around the world and see the number of gifts delivered, visit NORAD‘s official Santa Tracker here, download NORAD’s apps on Apple, Google and Microsoft app stores, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723).