Santa Claus is making his round-the-world journey tonight and you can keep up with the Jolly Old Elf with the annual Santa Tracker. The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 63rd anniversary of its holiday mission, made possible by thousands of volunteers who answer questions from good boys and girls. NORAD tracks Santa on its website, www.noradsanta.org. The website shows where Santa is and how many presents he and his reindeer have delivered. (As of Monday night at 6:08 p.m. CT, Santa was in Cork, Ireland and has delivered 3.9 million presents.)
According to NORAD, Santa will arrive in Alabama between nine and midnight, depending on the weather. The sky in Alabama is clear, so Santa is expecting smooth sailing across the South.
You can call NORAD toll free at 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORAD’s Santa mission all started as a happy accident.
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.