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Santa Claus is coming to town

NORAD tracks annual sleigh ride around world

POSTED December 20, 2013 7:13 p.m.

 

 

While the North American Aerospace Defense Command is typically patrolling the skies for possible aerial threats, once a year employees focus their attention on another airborne invasion: Santa Claus.

For the past 58 years, NORAD has been tracking Santa’s gift-giving route all across the world as he makes stops to each and every child’s home that believes in him. The tracking project began with a misprint of Santa Clause’s phone number in a Sears advertisement in 1955, which caused children to accidentally call NORAD offices instead of the North Pole. The NORAD colonel on duty decided to take the calls, responding to several children’s questions, which has led to the full on Santa tracking system that NORAD operates today. However, NORAD’s long term tracking efforts have not resulted in any traceable trends to anticipate Santa’s route this year.

“What is 24 hours to us could be longer to him, he travels at the speed of starlight. There is no trend in his route since he does what he wants and does not file a flight plan with us. We don’t know his route until the day of,” said Captain Ruth Castro of the U.S. Army Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

Santa’s annual sleigh ride has gathered traction over the years with NORAD receiving over 114,000 calls and over 11,000 emails to Santa last year. There were also 23 million unique visitors to the NORAD website from more than 230 countries and territories from all over the world. With so many children’s wishes waiting to be fulfilled, NORAD relies on the help of over 1,200 volunteers to help answer the phone calls and emails.

“We are here to help track Santa and we love what we do. We’ve been doing it for 58 years now and the most important thing is getting the information to the kids,” said Castro.

Those interested in tracking Santa Clause this Christmas Eve can call 1-877-hi-norad after 3 a.m. or access the NORAD Santa Tracker at www.noradsanta.org. NORAD also operates a Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus with updates of Santa’s whereabouts. 

 

 

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