NORAD enhances Santa tracking abilities

North American Aerospace Defense Command sees Ol' St. Nick when he's sleeping and knows when he's awake

Children of all ages are now able to track Santa live through a variety of social media services and OnStar, thanks to updates to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual Santa tracking public service.

New this year, children and the young-at-heart can track Santa through mobile devices and the Internet via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, TroopTube.mil and OnStar. To follow Santa on these Web sites, users should type @noradsanta into the search engine. Dedicated Santa trackers who are also OnStar subscribers can follow the jolly old elf in their vehicles by pushing the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa’s whereabouts.

The NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, www.noradsanta.org, is now live and features holiday games and activities that change daily. The Web site is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese. On Dec. 24, the Web site will stream videos, captured by NORAD “Santa Cams,” from cities along Santa’s journey.

On Christmas Eve, starting at midnight (Mountain Standard Time, which is 2 a.m. on the East Coast), Web site visitors can watch Santa prepare his sleigh, check his list, and get ready for his journey. As soon as Santa takes off from the North Pole, children can track him with up-to-the-minute Google Maps and Google Earth reports. 
 
Old-fashioned telephone and e-mail tracking will also be available. Santa trackers will begin answering phones and replying to e-mail at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST) on Christmas Eve. Children of all ages can call the NTS toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an e-mail to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com. 
 
The NTS program began Dec. 24, 1955, after a child called the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., requesting Santa's whereabouts. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The quick-thinking commander at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo., who answered the phone that night told the child where Santa was, and thus began the tradition of tracking Santa. NORAD, formed in 1958, took over and carried on the practice.
 
NORAD's Santa tracking Web site has grown to millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories since it debuted in 1998. The NTS Operations Center will be occupied for 25 hours with over 1,200 volunteers on Christmas Eve, who will be receiving hundreds of thousands of phone calls and e-mails from families around the world.

The NTS program is assisted by Booz Allen Hamilton, Verizon, Time Warner, Avaya, PCI, OnStar, 5 Star Bank, Pepsi Distributing, and First Choice Awards and Gifts.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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Reader comments

Fri, Dec 24, 2010 Coolio

Thank you NORAD and supporters even though I have found the source of Santa's magic it is touching to know people keep him alive in small children's hearts. I love watching him go over my city and counting the number of presents he gives by the billions. Thanks again, Happy Holidays!

Thu, Dec 24, 2009 Mo & Dee Lewiston, Idaho

This will help keep our little 7 yr old occupied tomorrow during the day while we cook. Thanks a lot, she will love this being on the computer when she gets up in the morning to watch while she waits on us. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!

Wed, Dec 9, 2009 a believer long island

Thank you , thank you, thank you for making me feel like a kid again. Thanks for all of you for the time you spend making Christmas merry for so many of us.

Wed, Dec 9, 2009 DEFENDER OF THE FREE WORLD

Yes, there really is a Santa, he sits in the Oval Office and he tells his secret Elves in the Treasury Department, ah sorry I mean North Pole, to keep printing more greenbacks to stuff in your unemployment stocking, so the Holidays won't be so dismal this year.

Mon, Dec 7, 2009 Virginia

Yes, Virginia there really is a Santa. Don't let the naysayers tell you otherwise! Smile everyone, it is a merry season. BWS

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