Since 1955, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa Claus’ route across the globe. According to its website, NORAD actually fell into this role somewhat by accident. “A Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations ‘hotline.’ The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.”
For the past few years, NORAD has included videos of Santa flying past global landmarks such as Mt. Fuji and the Space Needle, as well as the ability to follow him on Google maps. This year there’s a “Santa’s Village” feature with games for kids (I will freely admit that some of them are a bit tricky, even for adults), as well as a moble version for tracking Santa on the go.
But my favorite part of the Santa Tracker is the About Santa section, which offers probably the most thorough defense of his existence you’re likely to find. The money quote is NORAD’s description of him in the FAQ: “Based on flight profile data gathered from over 50 years of NORAD’s radar and satellite tracking, NORAD concludes that Santa probably stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds (before cookies). Based on fighter-aircraft photos, we know he has a generous girth (belly), rosy cheeks from sleigh riding in cold weather, and a flowing white beard.”
Also, he’s about 16 centuries old.
So, for all the kids out there (and the young at heart), have fun tracking Santa, and I hope your holiday is full of cheer. Merry Christmas!