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NORAD Santa Tracker – A Christmas Eve Tradition

For over 50 years, NORAD has been helping kids track Santa on Christmas Eve.

Screenshot from NORAD Santa Tracker trailer
Screenshot from NORAD Santa Tracker trailer
Once again, the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) Santa Tracker is poised to trace Santa’s movements. Starting at 12:01 Mountain Standard Time (MST) on December 24th (tonight!), trackers can log on to the NORAD Santa Tracker website and watch Saint Nick get ready for the big trip. Then, starting at 4 a.m. (ouch) MST, phone lines will open up for the Santa-curious to speak with live operators who will dish on the big guy’s coordinates: 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723).

A trailer for this year’s Santa Tracker recently produced a surge of criticism for the brief inclusion of fighter jets escorting Santa’s sleigh in a 39-second teaser.

NORAD spokesman, U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, tells parents not to worry: "We really do feel strongly that it's something that is safe and non-threatening, and not something that would negatively impact children. In fact, we think that it's a lot of fun."

The site is more than an enhanced GPS; it also contains a "Kids Countdown Village," which offers games, activities and other features for young ones who are eager for Santa.

The tradition began in 1955, the website says, after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co advertisement to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline."

Col. Harry Shoup, director of operations at CONAD, had his staff check the radar for Santa all night while he updated the kids who called in. More than 50 years later, the tradition lives on.

Will you and your kids check in on Santa’s whereabouts tomorrow? Tell us in the comments.

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