7 things to know about NORAD Tracks Santa

1. It all began as a mistake

(Courtesy: DVIDS/Air Force Public Affairs Agency)

According to NORAD officials, It began in 1955 - 61 years ago - when an advertisement for a Colorado Springs, Colo. based Sears store misprinted a phone number for kids to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, kids who called reached an NORAD hotline.

The Director of Operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup (pictured), had his staff check the radar for Santa, and gave updates to kids who called.


2. It's a bi-national effort, involving many people

(Courtesy: DVIDS/U.S. Northern Command)

According to NORAD, more than 1,250 Canadian and American uniformed personnel and DOD civilians are involved on Christmas Eve, answering phone calls and emails from around the world.


3. It's a 24-hour effort

(Courtesy: DVIDS/NORAD Tracks Santa)

According to NORAD, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is operational from 3:00 a.m., Mountain Standard Time on December 24, to 3:00 a.m., MST, on December 25.


4. People can track Santa, in eight languages


The NORAD Tracks Santa website, including the Santa Tracker, is available in eight languages, including English. They include Simplified Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. By that measure, at least 3 billion people -- or at least 43% of the world's population -- can access the website and understand its content.


5. You can even track Santa in your car!

(Courtesy: DVIDS/NORAD Tracks Santa)

According to OnStar's verified Facebook page, you can call OnStar to find out where Santa is. OnStar is a subscription-based, in-car service available for a number of car models.


6. And yes, there is an app for that

It's available for Apple and Google devices. You can also track Santa on our website!


7. Santa is real (in a sense)

(Courtesy: DVIDS/169th Fighter Wing)

Officials at NORAD believe Santa is alive and well in the hearts of people around the world, based on over six decades of tracking him, and "mountains of historical data".

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