Although NORAD’s Santa Tracker website has been online for several weeks, the real excitement begins on Christmas Eve morning.
WASHINGTON – Santa Claus is making final preparations before his trip around the world to deliver gifts to homes around the world. NORAD will track it on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, as they have for more than six decades.
According to NORAD’s Santa Tracker, a total of 7,623,693,263 gifts were distributed last year.
Although the Santa Tracker website has been online for several weeks, the real show begins on Christmas Eve morning. Starting at 4:00 a.m. Eastern on December 24th, NORAD begins tracking Santa with updates from around the world.
Then, starting at 6 a.m. Eastern, callers can dial in to find out where Santa is on his trip. Lt. Sean Carter, manager of the NORAD Tracks Santa Program, said volunteers took more than 53,000 calls in 2021, which is still below the pre-COVID-19 peak of 150,000 calls in 2019. The number of volunteers has had to be reduced in the last two years. due to the concern of the pandemic.
Click here to visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.
The military command has been fielding calls since 1955, when Air Force Col. Harry Shoup – the commanding officer of the Continental Air Defense Command’s predecessor to NORAD – fielded a call from a child who dialed a phone number misspelled in a newsstand ad. , thinking Santa was calling.
A quick-thinking Shoup immediately assured him it was the caller. And the tradition began.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden also participated in the tradition last year, answering calls from the Santa tracking service. It’s a long-standing tradition for first ladies, but the president joined in 2021 as well.
Today, most of the first calls come from Japan and Europe, with callers from the US and Canada increasing as the day goes on.
In addition to the call center and online site, Amazon Alex users can request Santa’s location using the NORAD Tracks Santa skill on Dec. 24 and OnStar subscribers can use the OnStar service to locate Santa.
NORAD’s mission is to watch the North American skies for potential threats. Early on Christmas Eve, Operation Santa begins when a cluster of radar stations in northern Canada and Alaska pick up the infrared signature emanating from Rudolph’s nose. NORAD’s array of geostationary satellites above Earth monitors the trip.
It’s all displayed on large “unclassified” screens in a festively decorated command post at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs. Costumed volunteers sit at tables stocked with phones, garlands, miniature Christmas trees, caffeine-infused candy and coffee, and hand sanitizer.
“We have a watch” is the motto of NORAD’s military mission.
And as for Santa, NORAD adds:
“The shot calls Santa. We just keep going.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.