Twas the night before Christmas, and Santa was near

According to NORAD, he would soon be right here

So we hopped into bed and dreamt of new toys

And awoke in the morning to much Christmas joy”

How did it come about that NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command would keep tabs on Santa on Christmas Eve? According to their website, a youngster following directions in a newspaper ad with an incorrect phone number printed, called the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Christmas Eve 1955. Colonel Harry Shoup was on duty and instead of hanging up, he played along and reported Santa’s location to each child phoning CONAD.

NORAD, when it was formed in 1958, continued the yearly tradition, and today uses satellite systems, high-powered radars, jet fighters, and a bank of volunteers to track Santa Claus.  

“Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site (in seven languages), over telephone lines, and by e-mail to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.

Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 140,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.

This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  To follow us on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start tracking.”