NORAD stands for North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint military organization between the US and Canada. It identifies and defends against airborne threats. But did you know how it came to track Santa?
It's hard to imagine such an important organization concerned with Santa. Yet they take their job seriously, reporting when their radar spots Santa and tracking him as he goes around the world delivering presents. In one of the videos (on their web site) they even give him fighter escort.
But how it started was a complete fluke!
In 1955, Sears department store had placed an ad in the Colorado Springs newspaper and had listed an incorrect phone number for kids to dial and talk to Santa. Unfortunately, the number was for CONAD, the predecessor for NORAD.
Colonel Shoup was on duty that night and he did the most remarkable thing. He told his staff to give Santa's current location, and thus began a tradition.
Today, manned by both military and civilian volunteers, they handle calls from children all over the world. NORAD has used tv, radio, newspaper, web sites, and even Twitter. I usually miss the bulletins, but the weather reports of nearly every station almost always includes an update from NORAD on Santa's current location on Christmas Eve.
Another noteworthy thing about this operation is that it is NOT paid for by tax dollars but by corporate sponsors.
So look for bulletins from NORAD. Santa is on his way.
Merry Christmas, everyone!