Track Santa through the night sky on December 24th!
The Santa Claus tracking tradition started in 1955 by pure accident after a local newspaper ran an ad for a department store Santa hot line. The ad included a special phone number, which turned out to be the operations hot line to Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD's predecessor.
Needless to say, the military personnel on duty were very surprised to hear six -year olds on the hot line. The senior officer on duty at the time was Air Force Col. Harry Shoup. He took the first call and quickly figured out what had happened. When kids asked if they could speak to Santa, Shoup said he was helping Santa and told the kids his officers could see Santa on the radar screens as he headed south from the North Pole.
Local media heard of the calls and reported the story. The next year, calls came flooding in to Continental Air Defense Command from children who wanted to know where Santa was. A tradition was born -- a tradition NORAD assumed in 1957. Since then, the program has expanded gradually over the years until it hit the Internet in 1997 with one million hits.
The official Norad Santa Claus journey map is here.
Play Christmas and Santa games here: