NORAD Tracks Santa in Timeless Holiday Tradition
As a young girl, my family and I spent Christmas Eve with the radio dialed into NPR listening to NORAD's tracking of Santa. Listening to the frequent updates only made the anticipation of Santa's arrival on Christmas morning that much more magical.
Even though this dates me, the days of listening to this time-honored tradition on radio are long gone. Now you can track Santa on your mobile device or computer. It's a modern age, and Santa has kept up with the changing times.
For the most trusted Santa tracking resource, gather the kids and visit NORAD Tracks Santa! Not only can children count down the days until presents land under the tree, but they can explore the North Pole and Santa’s Village. There’s even a holiday sound track provided by the U.S. Air Force Academy Band. If that’s not enough festive fun, an expanded menu provides Christmas games, interactive learning, and movies.
The history behind this tradition is heartwarming as well. Our military members are not only skilled warriors, but they have been caring for children during the most joyous season of the year for decades. Here’s a little background on NORAD’s Santa tracking.
From NORAD HQ: Why We Track Santa
The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.
In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.
NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program successful, as well as support from sponsoring companies (see their site for list). The NORAD Tracks Santa program uses minimal government funds. Each year, volunteers dutifully report Santa's location to millions of children around the world.
Starting on December 24, families can email NORAD at email@example.com or call 1-877-HI-NORAD for the most up-to-date tracking information.Perhaps following NORAD or interacting with Santa virtually will become a new holiday tradition for you and your family?