Community

Home
//
Community
//
NORAD Santa Tracking: How an Accident Sparked a Holiday Tradition
norad santa trackingnorad santa tracking

NORAD Santa Tracking: How an Accident Sparked a Holiday Tradition

Tracking aerospace activity is important, and nobody does it better than the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their responsibility is typically to track aerospace and maritime movements that could be a threat to North America, as the initiative is a joint collaboration between the United States and Canada. From potential nuclear warheads to UFOs and more, if it’s moving about, chances are good that NORAD has an eye on it. But in December, nothing surpasses its responsibility during the holiday season as much as NORAD Santa tracking, which allows children and adults alike to follow the flight path of ole Saint Nick.

Read next: Navigating a Military Christmas for Service Members and Civilians

A History of NORAD Santa Tracking

When did NORAD start tracking Santa? Every year, NORAD satellites and fighter pilots help track Santa with a tradition that goes back to its formation in 1958, but to understand the actual origins, we have to go back a bit further. In fact, if not for a mistake in 1955 involving Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, NORAD Santa tracking might not be a thing.

What ended up happening was the predecessor to NORAD would receive an odd phone call one day from a little boy out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. No, he wasn’t interested in tracking the Soviet Union’s whereabouts, but he was trying to contact Kris Kringle himself.

It turns out that a local ad had a phone number for children to call Santa. The problem? They ended up running the ad with a misprint that happened to be connected to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center.

Air Force Col. Harry Shoup answered the phone that evening and preceded to spread Christmas cheer by speaking with the child. Soon, others would ring in, and rather than correct them, Shoup continued to play along in good spirits.

Thus, the tradition was born, and it continued on once NORAD came to exist. These days, technology has advanced tremendously, which is great because not only can NORAD better keep an eye on things, but it also allows us to track Santa in many new ways.

A Holiday Tradition Like No Other

At its core, NORAD Santa tracking embodies the same heartwarming spirit showcased by Col. Shoup all those years ago. But with the evolution of technology, there are now more ways than ever to experience the magic and join in on the fun.

You’ll find the Christmas NORAD Santa Tracker through a variety of online avenues, including Amazon Alexa, YouTube, social media outlets, and, of course, the official website.

Because Santa is an international part of the holidays, millions of people from over 200 countries and territories join in on the fun each year! Ultimately, this is a great bit of fun for the kids and families, but that doesn’t mean those operating the gesture don’t love it too.

“Last year was my first year doing NORAD Tracks Santa, and the best thing was to be able to share it with my niece and nephew, who were at the time 8 and 6,” said Capt. Alexandra Hejduk. “The amount of street cred I got to tell them that I work closely with Santa Claus was amazing,” she continued.

How To Use NORAD Santa Tracking This Christmas Eve

Looking to get in on the NORAD Santa tracking event yourself? Not to worry; you have plenty of options, including the link above to the live YouTube event that will be active on Christmas Eve. No matter how you tune in, this is a great holiday tradition that’s fun for families around the globe as we all wait in anticipation of the arrival of Saint Nicholas.

Suggested read: Veteran’s Christmas: Making a Difference During the Holidays

Related Posts
U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, incoming Air Mobility Command commander, gives a speech at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Oct. 5, 2021. Minihan, succeeded Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac Olivera)U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, incoming Air Mobility Command commander, gives a speech at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Oct. 5, 2021. Minihan, succeeded Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac Olivera)
Minihan’s reputation, education, and experience proceed him. The four stars alone tell his story. But despite his insight,…
The ultimate valentine's day gifts guideThe ultimate valentine's day gifts guide
Valentine’s Day is almost here yet again, and with it, the need to scramble to find Valentine’s Day…
Boy playing the military board game BattleshipBoy playing the military board game Battleship
The beauty of military board games is that whether you are a military aficionado or just looking for…