Track Santa with NORAD and the Salisbury Post

Published 11:52 am Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa Claus is coming to town and NORAD is ready to track his path for all the good little boys and girls.

NORAD – the more commonly known acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command – is celebrating the 61st anniversary of tracking Santa’s journey. The¬†website,, launched Dec. 1 and includes a look at Santa’s North Pole Village with a Christmas countdown, games, activities, 2D/3D training maps, Santa Camera videos and more.

A wrong number and the Santa tracking tradition

While today’s NORAD Santa track is high tech, the program’s beginnings were decidedly simpler.

On Dec. 24, 1955, a young boy accidentally dialed a wrong number (and an unlisted number at that) that just so happened to belong to what was known as the Continental Air Defense Command Ops Center, or CONAD, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The phone number was an advertising misprint from a local business the boy was trying to call. Col. Harry Shoup, the operations center director, realized the error and assured the boy that NORAD would help Santa have a safe journey from the North Pole.

When CONAD became NORAD in 1958, joining with Canada for a bi-national organization, the Santa tracker program came along.

Today, the program uses hundreds of volunteers and donations from private organizations to keep the Santa tradition alive.

The big night

Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight with NORAD’s Santa Cams streaming videos. 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)

There are also games on our Santa Tracker website from google. Enjoy!