Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NORAD Santa Tracking Begins Today!

The ad that started it all

When has a wrong phone number led to a 55-year tradition? As far as we know, only once, but the misprint in the Sears Santa ad above sent a child trying to call Santa to an emergency line at the Continental Air Defense Command answered by Colonel Harry Shoup. Being the surprised yet super-gracious phone answerer he was, Mr. Shoup 'tracked' Santa for the young caller, and a tradition was born!

Colonel Shoup who answered the call of Santa.

CONAD transferred tracking duties to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in 1958, according to From its humble beginnings via phone about finding Santa on the radar, kids now have multiple ways to track that jolly old elf (who is of course, using social media to get the word out!). The thing that hasn't changed throughout the 55-year program is the happiness experienced by the volunteer adults who assist children in their quest for Santa (and also answer all letters regarding disbelief in the Man in the Red Suit), and the joy Santa brings the kids who are on the lookout for his sleigh.

Tracking 2009

2010 brings you numerous ways to track Santa. Friend Norad on facebook, follow @norad on twitter, or find him on google earth. Norad's site also has cool games for the kids- today we played snowman tic-tac-toe. (We lost.) In the midst of all this modern fun, remember you can always go old school on Christmas Eve- you can email the Santa tracker at or call (877.HI.NORAD) like the very first child did in 1955!

images courtesy and

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