Santa Claus is coming to town!
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is tracking Santa’s flight and whereabouts as he makes his annual journey around the world, delivering gifts to the world’s children.
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), have tracked Santa’s flight, and the big guy in red has already had a very productive Christmas Eve.
The tradition 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, which started the tradition.
In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defence command for North America called NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.
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. To protect North America and track Santa, NORAD uses 47 radar installations strung across Canada’s North and Alaska, a network of satellites with infrared sensors, high-speed SantaCam viewable online, and jet fighters.
— NORAD Tracks Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2021
Canadian NORAD fighter pilots have the honour of welcoming Santa to North America. Every year, Canadian fighter pilots fly the CF-18 out of Newfoundland and welcome Santa to North America. Then, at numerous locations in Canada, other CF-18 fighter pilots escort Santa.
As of 11:45 am EST, jolly old Saint Nick was making his way through Gangtok, India, so he still has quite some time before he makes it to Canada.
Dr. Theresa Tam says Santa has been “cleared for takeoff,” citing that Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves have all received their booster shots, that the sleigh is well ventilated, and that the big man can even be seen wearing his face mask.
You can also keep updated by checking out NORAD’s Twitter, where updates on Santa’s whereabouts are being posted too.