Where's Santa? NORAD Knows!

December 18th , 2007

Norad has been successfully tracking Santa for 51 years – with 2007 being 52.

First, it may help to know what NORAD stands for. NORAD is an abbreviation for the North American Air Defense Command, which was known as CONAD, or the Continental Air Defense Command, until the late 1950s. In 1958, the United States and Canada joined forces to form NORAD in order to warn and defend the continent more effectively in the case of an attack. The North American Air Defense Command watches the airways for intrusions such as planes or missiles and warns if any unrecognized object should enter protected airways and more recently, waterways as well. So, why does such an important entity like NORAD track Santa Claus?

That also started back in the 1950s and came about because of a simple mistake. In 1955, a Sears store, at the time known as Sears Roebuck and Company, placed Christmas advertising that included a phone number where children could call and reach Santa Claus. The only problem was that the phone number was printed incorrectly. As excited children began dialing on Christmas Eve, they reached CONAD, instead of Santa. The Colonel in charge recognized what had occurred, and in an act of kindness, had his team check the radar to see where Santa might be. Children were told of his speculated location when they called. Tracking Santa became a Christmas Eve custom after that. When CONAD became NORAD, the custom was passed along and is still in practice today. Information about Santa is now available in six different languages and children and their families can track Santa by calling or by viewing the NORAD website.

The NORAD site also has a countdown that shows exactly how long it will be until Santa leaves the North Pole which includes the days, the hours, the minutes, and even the seconds. Children can learn the very second Santa begins his journey, and track his progress toward their locations. For those “Grinch’ type folks who might be concerned about this use of taxpayer’s dollars, remember that much of this effort is simply an exercise in creativity and imagination. In addition, NORAD states that people from both the United States and Canada work voluntarily to help track Santa Claus. If you would like to learn more about this Christmas Eve tradition, or if you would like to follow Santa’s progress, please visit the NORAD website for more information. Last year (2007) 756 volunteers answered 65,355 phone calls between 2 a.m.Christmas Eve and 2 a.m. Christmas Day, reports Major Stacia Reddish, NORAD’s Track Santa project officer. NORAD volunteers received calls from every state in the U. S. , with the most callers phoning in from Texas , California and Florida .“All of those poor states with no snow,” Major Reddish said.Between Nov. 17 and Dec. 31, 2007 the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, www.noradsanta.org, received 907,958,865 hits from 210 countries and territories around the world. Norad Santa Website:
New for 2008 check out the Official Santa Mail website for fun games and much more:

From the entire ACTSmart team, Merry Christmas to all and to Santa, good flight!

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