NORAD will track Santa Claus Christmas Eve night

  • Published
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Team Vance members, young and old, can follow Santa Claus’s epic Dec. 24 journey on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or at the North American Aerospace Defense Command Tracks Santa website –

The website is now operational and features a count-down clock, games, music, movies and a bunch more Santa related information.

The NORAD association with Santa Claus began Dec. 24, 1955, with a call made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The call was not from the president or a general. It was from a young child in Colorado Springs who was following the directions in an advertisement printed in the local paper – the youngster wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.

The ad said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.

On duty that night was Col. Harry Shoup, who has come to be known as the “Santa Colonel.” Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned in that night.

Thus began a tradition carried on by the NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet-interceptors, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.

This year, like every year, 1,500 volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and emails from children and adults from around the world. Live updates are provided in seven languages through the NORAD Tracks Santa website, over telephone lines and by email 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 website receives nearly 9 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.