Where's Santa? NORAD Knows

December 2005

Continuing a yearly tradition that began in 1955, NORAD 's tracking of Santa is under way. At 8:00 am this morning, he was spotted near Fiji, Japan. How did the tradition start?

According to NORAD lore, the tradition began in 1955 when Sears-Roebuck placed an ad in The Gazette in Colorado Springs telling kids to dial a number if they wanted to talk to Santa. But the number was one digit off. When the first call came in to NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, Col. Harry Shoup told an eager child he would check the radars for Santa.

You can follow the tracking on NORAD's website here. Last year, the site received 912 million visitors.

The Web site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. The Web site tells Santa-watchers that NORAD uses a powerful radar system with 47 installations, satellites that normally watch for missile launches, a network of special "Santa cams" and pilots of the Canadian air force, a partner in NORAD, and the U.S. Air Force scramble to escort Santa while he's in their respective countries.

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