The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating its 60th anniversary of defending the homeland along with its tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the globe on Dec. 24.
“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States.”
NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian Command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world. It all started in 1955 when a local ad directed children to call Santa – only the number was misdialed. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD.
Now, the 63rd iteration of NORAD Tracks Santa kicks off Dec. 1, with a more mobile friendly website, social media channels, “Santa Cam” streaming video and a call center that will be operating around the clock on Dec. 24. More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to join NORAD on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to help track Santa’s journey.
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.
This year’s contributors include: the 21st Space Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Adobe, Alaska NORAD Region, Analytical Graphics, Inc., Agingo, Amazon Alexa, Avaya, Bing®, Canadian NORAD Region, Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence, CenturyLink, Cesium, Cherry Hill Programs, The Citadel Mall, Civil Air Patrol, Christmas in the Park, Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, Continental NORAD Region, CradlePoint, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Systems, DoD News, DoD Education Activity, The Elf on the Shelf, Getty Images, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Hewlett Packard, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, Kids.gov, Lockheed Martin, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Microsoft®, Microsoft Azure, Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific, Newsline360, Office Depot®, OnStar, Plantronics, Portable North Pole, Prefixa, Proactive, S4, SiriusXM®, Space Foundation, Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, U.S. Air Force Band, U.S. Air Force Academy Band, U.S. Department of State Family Liaison Office, U.S. Olympic Committee, and Verizon.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website can be found at www.noradsanta.org. On Dec. 24, users may call or text 1-877-HiNORAD for Santa’s up-to-date location.
Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 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), you can also text this number for automatic updates [standard data rates apply for non-Verizon customers]; by sending an email to [email protected] or by following the official NORAD Tracks Santa social media channels. Additionally, any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar members can push the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Bing users can also find Santa’s location on Dec. 24.
Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of Homeland Defense, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
The defense of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day. For 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted aircraft in the execution of NORAD’s North American air sovereignty and air defense missions. Because NORAD is a binational command, our responses do not distinguish between the two nations and draw on forces from both countries.