Not only is today Feel Good Friday, it’s also Christmas Eve. So, let’s talk about an organization that has been tracking Santa for the last 66 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD.NORAD is “a United States and Canada bi-national organization which defends the homeland through aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America.” Given that the people of NORAD are always watching the skies, it makes sense that they are tracking Santa, but the tradition of reporting his progress around the globe on Christmas Eve started because of mistake.
As they explain on their non-Santa , “tracking Santa has been a tradition since 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement informed children they could call Santa directly – only the contact number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty, U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD. Col. Shoup was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the child he was Santa. Shoup then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls.” Today, volunteers at the NORAD headquarters in Colorado still staff a hotline to provide updates on Santa, but this year there will be 500 people answering phones instead of one.
The increase in volunteers isn’t the only upgrade that’s happened in the last 66 years. The NORAD Tracks Santa website includes music, books, computer games and a section full of Santa facts. Did you know Santa experiences time differently than we do, he is at least 16 centuries old, and he gains 1,000 pounds from eating all the cookies? Well, now you do.
You can follow his journey around the world tonight by visiting NORAD Tracks Santa, calling 877-HI-NORAD, or downloading the app on your iPhone or Android. Told you they’ve made a lot of improvements since 1955. You can also keep up with Santa and NORAD year-round by following them on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NoradSanta and Instagram @noradtrackssanta_official. #NoradTracksSanta