NORAD Tracks Santa program launches December 1

(Source: NORAD Santa Tracker)

You’ll soon be able to track Santa as he makes his journey around the globe!

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, celebrates its 65th year of tracking Santa Claus as he delivers presents the night before Christmas.

This year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website launching December 1 will feature Santa’s North Pole Village, including a holiday countdown, games, music, a gift shop and more.

Preparations began in November to get the program up and running. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the call center is being adapted to ensure safety of NORAD staff and volunteers.

A limited number of staffers will be working the call center answering calls from 1-877-Hi-NORAD. For families unable to reach a volunteer Christmas Eve, a pre-recorded message featuring Santa’s latest location will play.

Families will also be able to track Santa live using the website, social media pages, and a new mobile app.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955, where a local newspaper advertisement offered children the ability to call Santa directly.

However, due to a misprint, the number rang through to the crew commander at NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center.

Col. Harry Shoup quickly realized the mistake, and assured the child he was Santa. Every year since then, a duty officer was assigned to continue answering calls, eventually leading to NORAD tracking Jolly Old St. Nick as he travels around the world on Dec. 24 every year.

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