2009
12.24

This year children will have a range of hi-tech options when it comes to following the progress of Santa on Christmas Eve.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad), a military organisation that is responsible for the aerospace and maritime defence of the US and Canada has been tracking Santa for over 50 years.

norad-tracks-santa

Children can follow Santa’s progress via its website or on Twitter, Facebook or via Google Maps or Google Earth. It is becoming the hi-tech equivalent of reading The Night Before Christmas to excited children on Christmas Eve.

Santa’s journey starts at 1100GMT on 24 December and children can track his progress as he passes 24 “Santa cams” around the world. This year they can also check out Santa’s village and see how well the elves are getting on with making presents.

The tradition of tracking Santa goes back to a misprint in a Colorado newspaper advertisement in 1955. The hotline to Santa promised by the paper actually connected to what was known then as the Continental Air Defense Command (Conad).

As more phone calls came in, the commander on the other end of the phone started to pretend he was Santa and the tradition continued in 1958 when Conad became Norad.

Last year volunteers received 75,000 phone calls and about 6,000 e-mails from 200 countries. The system works, according to Norad, because Rudolph the reindeer’s famous nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch.

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