Every December, millions of families around the world track Santa’s Yuletide journey through the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Santa Tracker. “NORAD Tracks Santa” is a holiday tradition that started from humble origins — and as a fluke — but has now grown into a massive volunteer operation.
On Dec. 24, we have the very special mission of also tracking Santa using the same systems we use every day: satellite systems, high-powered radar and jet fighters. For more than 65 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight around the world.
The modern tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 when a young child accidentally dialed the unlisted phone number of the CONAD Operations Center upon seeing an newspaper advertisement telling kids to call Santa. The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, answered the phone and instructed his staff to check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole.
Thus a tradition was born, and continued when NORAD was formed in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa’s location on Dec. 24 to millions of children and families across the globe.
NORAD receives calls from around the world on Dec. 24 asking for Santa’s location. Children, families and fans also keep track of Santa’s location on the NORAD Tracks Santa® website and our social media platforms.
All of this is made possible by the amazing generosity of our volunteers and our government and corporate partners who help bring the NORAD Tracks Santa® program to the world.
I would rather talk to someone at NORAD to find out where Santa is located. Is there a number I can call?
Yes! The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 4 AM MST on December 24th. You can call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location. Operators are available until midnight.