Track Santa’s trip around the globe

Santa is on his way, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command is keeping track of Kris Kringle’s progress.

NORAD is the U.S. and Canadian cooperative charged with defending the airspace in North America, and monitoring airspace activity around the world. In addition to their defense duties, NORAD also tracks the progress of a certain jolly elf each year beginning Christmas Eve.

“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight path,” NORAD’s commander, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, said in a news release. “The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to defend Canadian and American airspace from threats.”

This is the 64th year the organization has been tracking Santa’s progress as he and his reindeer move from east to west across the globe. It all started with a newspaper misprint in 1955.

An ad offering a phone number children could use to call Santa was placed in the newspaper, but the digits were slightly off. So instead of calling the Santa hotline, calls rang through to the U.S. Air Force crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Legend has it that Colonel Harry Shoup took the call, and after realizing a mistake had been made, assured the child he was indeed Santa.

Since then, NORAD and its predecessor has tracked Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve. This year, you can check the organization’s Santa-tracking website at, and also call for updated progress at 877-HiNORAD.

The Santa-tracking site already has some interactive content ready to go so you and other fans of Santa can get into the festive spirit.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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