As the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducts its primary mission of defending the homeland, it stands ready to continue its tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the globe today.
In true COVID-19 style, Santa is all masked up and ready to deliver presents to children around the world.
The defense of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority.
NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. But every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.
It all started in 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement informed children they could call Santa directly — only the contact number in the advertisement was misprinted.
Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty, U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD. Col. Shoup was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the child he was Santa. Col. Shoup then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls. Thus, a tradition was born, and continued when NORAD was formed in 1958.
Each year since, NORAD has reported Santa’s location on Dec. 24, to millions of children and families.
On Dec. 24, users may call 1-877-HiNORAD for Santa’s up-to-date location.