COLORADO — He sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake, but does Santa know we’re watching him, as well?
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) out of Peterson Air Force Base has been tracking Santa’s yuletide journey for more than 60 years, with a family-friendly program to follow Santa on Saturday, Dec. 24 around the world, using military sensors and technology.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website features Santa’s North Pole Village, including a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese. Kids of all ages can check out NORAD Headquarters in the North Pole Village, and watch highlights of the program over the past six decades.
This is how it works here in the gateway communities of Yosemite. At 11:01 p.m. PST on Friday, Dec. 23 (12:01 a.m. MST and 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24), website visitors can start to watch Santa make preparations for his flight. Later, NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.
At 3 a.m. PST on Saturday, Dec. 24 (4 a.m. MST and 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) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets.
Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.