Santa’s reindeer-powered-trek around the world will be tracked by NORAD on Christmas Eve, and kids can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or calling a Santa NORAD hotline in Colorado.
Santa trackers may type @noradsanta into a search engine and start following his flight path, according to a NORAD decree on the red-suited visitor from the North Pole. Kids also can call the hotline at 877-HI-NORAD (877-446-6723) beginning at 6 a.m. Eastern time on Dec. 24.
Some 1,500 volunteers in the Colorado Springs, Colo., region will answer phone calls from curious Santa watchers. The NORAD Tracks Santa website receives nearly nine million visitors and more than 140,000 calls to a tracking hotline, every year, the command said.
“The phones pretty much do not stop ringing … until about midnight,” said Air Force Capt. Chase McFarland, a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman in Colorado.
“We love doing this every year,” he said in an interview Friday with this news outlet. “We love getting to talk about Santa and help kids around the world track Santa. But we always want to recommend that kids are in bed by 9 0’clock so Santa gets there on time.”
The tradition began on Dec. 24, 1955, when a young child called an incorrect phone number in a local Colorado newspaper that printed a Sears ad featuring Santa. The ad urged kids to call him. The first phone call to the wrong number landed on the desk of Col. Harry Shoup at the Continental Air Defense Command, the forerunner of NORAD, according to legend.
Calls poured in that first night and the tradition was launched, NORAD said.
For his efforts, Shoup became known as the “Santa Colonel.”
To find out more, log onto www.noradsanta.org.