There’s no one busier on Christmas Eve than Santa Claus, and one organization has been tracking his exceptional gift-giving abilities for more than 60 years.
This modern tradition actually started in 1955, “when a young child accidentally dialed the unlisted phone number of the (Continental Air Defense Command) Operations Center upon seeing an newspaper advertisement telling kids to call Santa,” according to the bi-national organization North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The director of operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, “answered the phone and instructed his staff to check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole,” the organization says on its website. And so the tracking of Mr. Claus began.
It continued when NORAD formed and replaced CONAD in 1958. Since then, NORAD says it has “has dutifully reported Santa’s location on Dec. 24 to millions of children and families across the globe.”
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If you’re interested in tracking Santa on Christmas Eve, you can call NORAD at (877) HI-NORAD or follow Santa’s location using NORAD’s Tracks Santa website — that’s the map above — or its social media channels.
While NORAD cannot confirm when Santa will be at each house, the organization says it does “know from history that it appears he arrives only when children are asleep!” That means between 9 p.m. and midnight on Christmas Eve in most countries, NORAD adds.
“If children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves on to other houses,” the organization notes. “He returns later, but only when the children are asleep!”
Contributing: Kurt Snibbe, Southern California News Group