Santa Claus spotted Dec. 24, 2014 in the sky over New York. Courtesy/NORAD
PETERSON AFB, Colo. — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, launching Tuesday, features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps also are available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets. Tracking opportunities also are offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
Also new this year, the website features the NORAD Headquarters in the North Pole Village, and highlights of the program over the past 60 years.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST (2:01 a.m. EST) on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1.877.Hi.NORAD (1.877.446.6723) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD has carried on since it was created in 1958.
NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors.
This year’s contributers include: the 21st Space Wing, 140th Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Alaska NORAD Region, America Forces Network (AFN), Analytical Graphics, Inc., Avaya, BeMerry! Santa / Noerr Programs, Bing®, Canadian NORAD Region, Chirpon, The Citadel Mall, Civil Air Patrol, Christmas in the Park, Colorado Springs Business Alliance, Continental NORAD Region, CradlePoint, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Systems, DoD News, The Elf on the Shelf, Extended Stay America, Federal Aviation Administration, Getty Images, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Harris, Hewlett Packard (HP), iLink-Systems, Kids.gov, Level 3 Communications, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Meshbox, Microsoft®, Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific, National Tree Lighting Ceremony, Naturally Santa’s Inc., Office Depot/Office Max, OneRender, OnStar, PCI Broadband, Portable North Pole/Ugroup Media, Pueblo Riverwalk, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado, Save the Children, Sears, Space Foundation, Spil Games, SiriusXM®, Strategic Air & Space Museum, Unity, U.S. Air Force Academy Band, U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, U.S. Air Force Band of the West, U.S. Air Force Band, U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, U.S. Band of MidAmerica, U.S. Coast Guard Band, U.S. Department of State Family Liaison Office, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Postal Service, Verizon, Visionbox, West Point Band, Windows Azure, and Xtomic.