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NORAD Tracks Santa celebrates 65 years


Last updated 12/23/2020 at 11:38am

The NORAD Tracks Santa program has been around for a long time--since 1955 to be exact! This volunteer-based program runs on the belief that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world.

Starting Dec. 1, people are able to check the countdown to Santa's flight at The site features Santa's North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, movie theater, holiday music, webstore, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

The official NORAD Tracks Santa app has been updated for 2020 and is also available in the Apple App and Google Play stores, so parents and children can count down the days until Santa's launch on their smart phones and tablets. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, as well as on partner platforms Amazon Alexa and OnStar.

Beginning at 2 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, you can track Santa live as he takes his historical journey around the world and watch videos from NORAD Santa Cams of Santa and his reindeer!

Background Information:

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world. In addition, we now track Santa using the internet. Millions of people who want to know Santa's whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Finally, media from all over the world rely on NORAD as a trusted source to provide updates on Santa's journey.

In Memory of Retired Colonel Harry Shoup, NORAD's First Santa Tracker

September 29, 1917 - March 14, 2009

The NORAD Tracks Santa program is made possible by volunteers and through the generous support of corporate licensees who bear virtually all of the costs. Normally, local volunteers help staff the phone bank at NORAD. This year's COVID restrictions have limited that, so the group will be smaller than usual. They will be doing their best!

Master Sgt. Charles Marsh

A glimpse from a past NORAD Tracks Santa event in 2014. The Colorado Springs-based operation dates back to 1955.

This year's contributers include: the 21st Space Wing, 24-7 Press Release, Acuity Scheduling, Alaskan NORAD Region, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), Agingo, Amazon Alexa, Avaya, Canadian NORAD Region, Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence, CenturyLink, Cesium, Cherry Hill Programs, The Citadel Mall, Christmas in the Park, Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, Continental U.S. NORAD Region, CradlePoint, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Systems, DoD Education Activity, The Elf on the Shelf, Extended Stay America, Getty Images, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Hewlett Packard, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, Lotz Of Happy Christmas, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Meshbox, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Bing, Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific, NASA Space Place, Nashville Net User Group, Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center, OnStar, Package from Santa, Plantronics, Portable North Pole, Royal Canadian Air Force Band, S4, SciJinks, Shirt Stop, SiriusXM, Six String Soldiers, Slicktext, Space Foundation, Together We Stand Foundation, U.S. Air Force Band, U.S. Air Force Academy Band, U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, U.S. Coast Guard Band, U.S. Department of State Family Liaison Office, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Navy Band Northeast, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Verizon.


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