December 3, 2013

NORAD Tracks Santa

The Newseum is once again proud to be a member of the NORAD Tracks Santa team for 2013!

NORAD Tracks Santa began December 24, 1955, when an incorrect phone number encouraging children to call Santa on Christmas was printed in a local Sears Roebuck and Co. newspaper advertisement. Instead of Santa, the number actually dialed the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Air Operations Center, NORAD's predecessor organization, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night, informed callers he was not Santa, but told them he could look on his radar and tell them Santa's location as he made his Yuletide journey across the globe.

From this act of timely kindness emerged a program that today is institutionalized throughout NORAD, which took over operations from CONAD in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa's location on Dec. 24 to millions of children and families across the globe who inquire as to his whereabouts.

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