Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have volunteered their time to respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world and now track Santa using the internet. Millions of people who want to know Santa’s whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.
The tradition began after a newspaper 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.