Every year, the rogue present giver — code name “Santa Claus” — travels the world spreading holiday cheer. Thankfully, a military aerospace group is on the case, tracking Santa’s every move.
Starting on Sunday at 2:01 a.m. Eastern, the public can tune in and watch online as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) monitors Santa’s whereabouts. Using various “SantaCams,” the organization — which is tasked with overseeing aerospace warning in the United States and Canada — is able to “track” Santa’s location along his journey, and approximately how many gifts he’s delivered.
Of course, there aren’t really cameras, and the live feed is an animation, but folks can still call 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD “trackers,” who are actual military personnel.
Sure, the whole thing is a publicity stunt, but NORAD’s Santa Tracker is a tradition that’s existed in some form for over 60 years. According to CNN, the “program” first started in 1955 because of a “mistake in a Colorado Springs newspaper advertisement from Sears Roebuck & Co.” The department store printed a number for kids to call Santa, but messed up and listed the number for the commander in chief’s operations hotline at NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). An air force colonel spent Christmas Eve answering phone calls from local children who were eager to know about Santa’s whereabouts, and the tradition has stuck ever since.
On Sunday, over 1,500 NORAD volunteers in Colorado Springs will field phone calls and emails asking about the jolly man’s whereabouts. In the past, NORAD has been assisted from folks outside the agency, including former First Lady Michelle Obama. The result is extremely wholesome and good.
Happy holidays and be good for goodness sake — or a military organization will monitor your every move and display it to the world!