NORAD’s santa updates are a tradition that started in 1955 when a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa, according to noradsanta.org.
Those calls went to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief’s operations, and not wanting to disappoint the children who called, the director of operations had his staff “check the radar” for Santa’s location.
CONAD continued to track Santa until 1958 when the newly created bi-national air defense command, NORAD, took over the task.
Today, tracking Santa has gone high-tech.
Volunteers still respond to phone calls, but answer emails as well.
The website, which is available in eight languages, features an interactive map that tracks Santa in real time, and information on where he was last spotted, where he is headed next and how many gifts he has delivered.
Google also has its own Santa Dashboard to track his Christmas Eve journey.
For seven years NORAD used Google Maps to track Santa, until last year when Microsoft started providing the mapping software.