Tracking Santa Claus The tradition of tracking Santa Claus by NORAD really happened by accident, this article tells the fascinating story of how NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) became involved with tracking Santa Claus! The tracking Santa Claus facility is available from December 1. The Official NORAD Santa Tracker website address is as follows:
Tracking Santa Claus - NORAD What is NORAD? NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. All very serious stuff, so how on earth did NORAD get involved in tracking Santa Claus?
Tracking Santa Claus - The Mistake! Apparently the story started in 1955 when someone made a small mistake. A Sears-Roebuck store placed an advert in The Gazette in Colorado Springs telling children to dial a number if they wanted to talk to Santa Claus. The advert went along the following lines:
"Hey kiddies, do you want to talk to Santa? Dial this number..."
Nice idea! But the telephone number that was printed was incorrect - just one digit was missing. On Christmas Eve 1955 a little girl decided that she would like to talk to Santa Claus and phoned the number given in the newspaper. The small typographical error resulted in a big mistake. The telephone number the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado!
Tracking Santa Claus - Colonel Harry Shoup The call from this little girl in Colorado Springs was answered by Colonel Harry Shoup. She told him that she wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus. Had he been a lesser man, Col. Shoup might well have just replied that she had got the wrong number but instead he told her that he would check the RADAR. There many other calls from kids that Christmas Eve all answered by the staff who were on duty at CONAD. Colonel Harry Shoup would later be referred to as 'Santa Colonel'. The tradition of tracking Santa Claus had started!
Tracking Santa Claus - Colonel Harry Shoup The tradition started by CONAD was continued by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it was formed in 1958. It was an excellent Public Relations exercise which continues to gain pace and fresh innovations more than 50 years after it began.
Tracking Santa Claus Around the World NORAD produced stories of how their powerful tracking systems were used in tracking Santa Claus from his home in the the North Pole to delivering his presents to children in North America. In recent years they extended their service to tracking Santa Claus around the world. Every Christmas Eve, several hundred volunteers staff telephone hotlines and computers to answer calls and e-mails from children (and adults) from around the world.
Tracking Santa Claus - The NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site There are live updates which are provided on the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site. A map tracking Santa Claus, is updated every five minutes, showing a Santa's current location. The site is also updated each hour to show a CGI-rendered Santa Claus flying over one or more major cities in the time zone where it is midnight. The website receives a billion hits from over 200 countries around the world. Nearly one million people called the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline and nearly 50,000 e-mails were received from children around the world.