The Santa Tracker website has been fired up just in time for Christmas. The programme from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been on since 1955 and this year is no exception. NORAD’s job is to monitor and defend North American airspace throughout the year and its extra mission is to track Mr Claus, while he makes his way across the globe, delivering presents to children.
The Colorado Springs headquartered organisation started the programme in 1955 when a local Sears store printed a newspaper ad that invited kids to call a certain phone number to talk to Santa. The number was misprinted and NORAD received a huge volume of calls. The colonel on duty didn’t let kids down and started a tracking system.
North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD has been running a Santa Claus 'tracker' since 1955 Picture: NORD
“While the tradition of tracking Santa began purely by accident, NORAD continues to track Santa. We’re the only organisation that has the technology, the qualifications, and the people to do it. And, we love it. NORAD is honoured to be Santa’s official tracker,” says a note on the website.
The website also features games, music and a countdown to the big night. Starting Christmas Eve, people will be able to follow Santa’s sleigh as he takes off from the North Pole for his journey around the world.
NORAD intelligence indicates that Santa is about five feet and seven inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds (before cookies) while his sleigh carries about 60,000 tons of gifts at takeoff.
Of course, there is also competition in this space. Google has its own take on it through a micro-site. Google’s Santa Tracker follows the man in red suit’s whereabouts till ‘delivery day’ on December 25. On the website is a collection of minigames. Be it launching presents onto boats to grab a high score to a keyboard-controlled jetpack elf catching goodies from the sky… it’s all there.