In the ongoing festive tradition spanning decades, the binational United States-Canadian military surveillance organization (NORAD) maintains its annual commitment to trace the global journey of Santa Claus. This endeavor assists children worldwide in determining the anticipated arrival of Santa’s sleigh, propelled by reindeer and laden with gifts.
A cutting-edge, three-dimensional, interactive web portal, accessible at www.noradsanta.org, showcases Santa Claus and his reindeer on an envisioned global delivery route. Users can actively engage by clicking to glean insights into the various cities featured along this whimsical expedition.
The inception of the Santa tracker, presented by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), dates back to the year 1955. A Colorado newspaper’s inadvertent placement of a phone number, intended for children to connect with Santa, led them astray to the military nerve center hotline. Faced with the prospect of disappointing the youngsters, Colonel Harry Shoup, NORAD’s Director of Operations at the time, mandated a radar check to pinpoint Old Saint Nick’s whereabouts, ensuring timely updates for the eager children.
Sixty-eight years on, NORAD upholds the tradition by establishing a transient call center at its Colorado headquarters, dedicated to addressing the inquisitive inquiries of children. A visual glimpse shared on Facebook portrays rows of personnel answering phones, some clad in uniform, while others don red Santa caps. Prominent figures from the United States, including President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, actively participated in this festive undertaking.
The official statement from the White House read, “This evening, the President and First Lady participated in the North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa tracking calls with children and families across the country.”
On a slight hiccup earlier in the day, the tracker experienced a temporary outage, leaving children in the Pacific region in suspense regarding Santa’s precise location. The tracker’s Facebook page reassured enthusiasts, stating, “Hey #SantaTrackers! We may be having a couple of technical difficulties with our tracking map, but #Santa is still flying! He is headed to Fiji next!” The glitch was swiftly rectified within an hour.
Santa Claus embarked on his celestial journey with an extraordinary inaugural stop – the International Space Station orbiting Earth. The reindeer-driven sleigh traversed diverse regions, including Israel, southern Gaza, crisscrossing Africa, and venturing southward to Palmer Station, a research facility in Antarctica. Subsequently, Santa charted his course upward through South America, en route to the United States. Notably, he dispensed an astonishing 100,000 gifts per second, amassing a total of 4.9 billion presents as of 0130 GMT on Monday, as per the tracker’s data.
When not disseminating holiday joy, NORAD undertakes aerospace and maritime control and warning operations. This encompasses monitoring potential missile launches from North Korea, a matter that might be on Santa’s radar this year, given the recent Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test merely days ago.