Where is Santa? Only NORAD Knows.

It’s the question every parent has to answer on Christmas Eve: “Where is Santa?” Thankfully our friends at NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command, for those why may not know) are keeping track of him this holiday season, as they have done for over 50 years. And it is only NORAD that knows Santa’s route around the globe.

NORAD is the organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.

The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. 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.

When NORAD was created in1958, the organization kept the tradition alive. Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world. Today, the NORAD Santa Tracker website allows millions of children around the world to track Santa’s whereabouts at any time during his Christmas journey!

This year it gets even better, as NORAD is offering a Windows 8 app that lets kids track Santa from any mobile device! Built on Bing Maps, children will be able to follow the sleigh ride in real-time, and even watch Santa as he chats and with US and Canadian military personnel.

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The app also offers the chance to spread some good will during the holiday season. Operation Good Will is NORAD’s way of giving back to the military community each year and they hope that you can become involved. Our communities play a large part in honoring and serving the 1 percent of Americans currently sacrificing for our nation and the community-based organizations that support our Service members and their families. Find out more here.

Now, who is going to join me in watching Santa’s flight path on Christmas Eve? Tweet me here to join in on the fun! Also, check out this post from Liz Gumbinner of Cool Mom Picks on the 5 top ideas for things to do with their kids at the holidays!