NORAD Santa-Tracking

The NORAD Santa-sighting updates have become a holiday tradition, quietly and with a remarkable lack of the late twentieth-century cynicism that too often mars our experience of things simple and sweet and innocent.

In his article Behind the Scenes: NORAD’s Santa Tracker, reporter Daniel Terdiman fills in the history of this particularly post-modern Christmas Eve sweetness.

All joking aside, NORAD has been taking its Santa tracking project seriously for decades. But it actually began in 1955 with a wrong number.

One morning that December, U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command–NORAD’s predecessor–got a phone call at his Colorado Springs, Colorado, office. This was no laughing matter. The call had come in on one of the top secret lines inside CONAD that only rang in the case of a crisis.

Grabbing the phone, Shoup must have expected the worst. Instead, a tiny voice asked, “Is this Santa Claus?”

You can check The Official NORAD Santa Website for regular updates, assisted by Google Earth, as Santa meets his worldwide delivery schedule for yet another year. You can also follow @NORADSanta on Twitter.com.

Joyeux Noel, everyone!

About the author

MacAllister Stone is Editor in Chief of AbsoluteWrite.com and CoyoteWildMag.com. She attended the Viable Paradise specfic writing workshop in October of 2006 and has been a member of the VP staff, since. She can often be found on the Absolute Write forums.