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Tracking Santa worldwide is real. Here's what you need to do

Tracking Santa worldwide is real. Here's what you need to do Tracking Santa worldwide is real (Getty Images)

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), in charge of monitoring skies over the United States and Canada, has a highly expected annual tradition of launching a Santa Claus tracking system. It starts at 6 a.m. ET every Christmas Eve, allowing anyone to monitor Santa's global journey via NORAD's website or by contacting the command center at 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723), according to CNN.

The NORAD Tracks Santa app, social media platforms, Amazon Alexa, OnStar, SiriusXM, and the Bing search engine also provide access to the tracking service, according to a NORAD statement.

This Christmas marks the 68th year of NORAD's tradition of tracing Santa's expedition worldwide

History of the tradition

The tradition originated in 1955. A misprinted contact number in a local newspaper ad led children to call the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado.

“Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night who answered the child’s phone call, was quick to realize a mistake had been made and assured the child he was Santa," the NORAD website states.

Recognizing the growing number of calls, Shoup appointed a duty officer to answer, establishing a tradition that stayed when NORAD was founded in 1958.

Sean Carter, this year's program manager, notes that monitoring Santa on a single night each year constitutes a uniquely important responsibility, treated with the same level of seriousness as NORAD's daily mission involving aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning. According to him, people are a crucial element that awakes the mission every December 24.

“The outpouring of support and camaraderie that flood our phone lines and inboxes serve as a reaffirmation of the holiday spirit and why we work throughout the year to keep this program alive,” he said.

We also wrote about 90s Christmas movies for cozy and snowy winter nights and the 10 best cartoons with a New Year's atmosphere for family viewing.