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Here's how NORAD started tracking Santa Claus

'Small mistake' started holiday tradition
Christmas Santa Tracking
Posted at 9:12 AM, Dec 24, 2021

For the 66th consecutive year, The North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD, will track Santa Claus on his journey around the planet to bring toys to all the good children.

If you're wondering why one of the most important military installations in the country tracks Santa Claus on his yearly journey, it all started with a small mistake.

In 1955, a newspaper ran an advertisement with a number where children could call to speak with Santa. The issue was, that number was incorrect and actually was to the duty desk at The Continental Air Defense Command.

U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the duty commander at the time, answered the phone.

Shoup, who was not a grinch, realized a mistake had been made and didn't want to disappoint children. So, he assigned a duty officer to continue taking the calls that night.

That simple mistake in a newspaper advertisement spawned a holiday tradition that continues to this day.

Children can call NORAD directly at 1-877-HI-NORAD (446-6723) or log on here to follow along Santa's journey around the world.