Tracking Santa Claus on Radar

norad santa claus
Tracking Santa Claus started in 1958

Santa Claus Tradition Started at Height of Cold War

The Norad Santa Tracking program started back in the 1950s. It actually started as a result of a mistake in a newspaper advertisement. In 1955 a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa Claus direct – only the number was misprinted. However instead of reaching the jolly old elf, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center.

You might think at the time, during the Cold War, that the threat of nuclear war would have resulted in serious reaction and anger. After all in 1956 while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used his famous “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you” expression.

Tensions between the East and West were high.

Santa at Victoriaville, there is no word if he is using an iPad to record his list this year.
Santa at Victoriaville in Thunder Bay, there is no word if he is using an iPad to record his list this year.

But instead a happy tradition started. That tradition which NORAD has carried on ever since it was created in 1958.

North American Aerospace Defense Command is prepared to track Santa’s yuletide journey!

Norad Goes Live on December 1st


The newly redesigned NORAD Tracks Santa website,, goes live Sunday, Dec. 1 featuring a holiday countdown, daily games and activities, videos, music and more. Beyond a new look, features such as a 3D globe and new interactive games take advantage of today’s modern web. The site is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

The official NORAD Tracks Santa app is also available in the Windows, Apple and Android 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 on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each social media property to get started.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight through the Bing maps and Cesium technology to track Santa with NORAD in 2D and 3D. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa’s location any time on Dec. 24. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.

NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors.

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