A favorite tradition for many parents, is to track Santa’s whereabouts. Granted, it was old school for us back in the day. We relied on the weatherman on the local news station for a Six O’Clock News update. Now, however, there are so many cool ways to track the Jolly Old Guy.
Almost everyone knows about the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracking of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, and I love its back story. Apparently, it began as a mistake when a department store 62 years ago printed “Santa’s telephone number”. But some, err, mischievous elves switched some numbers around, and the calls went to a U.S. Government Defense office. Now it is called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or ‘NORAD.’ You would think, as the way of most government employees, that the person who answered the call would have told the child that they had the wrong number or, more accurately, that “I’m sorry, we don’t handle that. You’ll have to call the correct department.”
Yet, he didn’t hang up or claim he wasn’t qualified to answer the call. He played along, and so did his co-workers when the phone started ringing off the hook. And that, my friends, is how it all started. Old school really – a paper newspaper, and a landline telephone.
Now things are a bit more high tech. It rocked when NORAD offered an online tracking ‘system’. Now there are apps and more to follow along. However you follow, there are 1,250 Canadian and American uniformed personnel and Defense-Department civilians who volunteer their time today to answer thousands of phone calls and emails for Santa fans. Plus organizations such as Microsoft, Analytical Graphics Inc., Verizon, Visionbox and over 50 others support the NORAD Santa Tracker too. For 2012, Google has launched its own Google Santa Tracker too, with a variety of fan support!
So pull out the eggnog and start getting in the spirit! Here is how to track Santa:
Get an update on Santa’s location by pinging a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dial 1-877-HI-NORAD or 1-877-446-6723 to speak to a NORAD tracker. Anyone overseas should call 1-719-556-5211.
On Mobile Phones
If you’re running Windows Phone 7.5 or 8, you can download the official app for free. The Google Play store offers an Android version of the official app with phones running 2.2 to 4.2. For iPhone, iPad and iPod owners, you can get a free iOS version via iTunes.
I did my best to accurately list all of the numbers, links and more. If anything is not working, please let me know!