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Norad tracks Santa

'Tis the season and the good folks over at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, formerly the North American Air Defense Command although still refered to as NORAD... anyway, the good folks over at NORAD will be tracking Santa as he makes his way around the world. They have a very impressive page that is worth checking out, especially if you have kids.

This is the 50th anniversary of NORAD's Santa tracker. The whole concept has found a whole new audience with the Web, where kids can actually watch "Santa" as he makes his trek.

This is the 50th Anniversary that NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa. The tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. store advertisement for children to call Santa on a special "hotline" included an inadvertently misprinted telephone number. Instead of Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first "Santa" call on Christmas Eve 1955. Realizing what had happened, Colonel Shoup had his staff check radar data to see if there was any indication of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Indeed there were signs of Santa and children who called were given an update on Santa's position. Thus, the tradition was born. In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States decided to create a bi-national air defense command for the North American continent called the North American Air Defense Command. Canada and the U.S. believed they could better defend North America together as a team instead of separately.

The Command carried out its first Santa tracking in 1958 after inheriting the tradition from CONAD. Since that time, Canadian and American men and women who work at NORAD have responded to phone calls from children personally. Additionally, media from all over the world call NORAD on Christmas Eve for updates on Santa's location. Last year this Website was visited by millions of people who wanted to know Santa's whereabouts. This year, the information is provided in six languages.


NORAD also has information about how they actually track Santa and other cool downloadable stuff... and, of course, includes a countdown clock until Christmas. (See the third item down... My guess is that if you have kids in the house, you don't really need a countdown clock.)

So... Happy Christmas or holidays or hanukkah or Christmaka or whatever you may be celebrating. Enjoy!

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Dec 22, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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