Every year, on Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD tracks Santa Clause as he leaves the North Pole to begin his journey to deliver millions or presents to children all over the world. The Christmas themed program has been around since 1955 and follows the tradition of the September 1897 New York Sun editorial called “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause”.
The Santa Norad Tracker entertainment program actually began on December 24, 1944 when a Sears department store put an ad out in the Colorado Springs newspaper that said children could call Santa Clause. The number that was printed in the publication was incorrect and instead led to the Colorado Springs Continental Air Defense Command Center or CONAD. That night, Colonel Shoup, the command officer of duty, decided he would have the staff give children the location of Santa Clause instead. From this day forward, a tradition began and has continued to this day with the North American Aerospace Defense Command Center or NORAD, that replaced CONAD in 1958.
Since the entertainment program began, NORAD has relyed on volunteers to make the event happen each year. The volunteers that help, handle around 40 calls be hour and the team of volunteers handle over 12,000 emails and over 70,000 phone calls between over two hundred countries and territories that are able to participate in the program. The majority of these phone calls and emails take place during the 25 hours prior to December 24th, between 2 am and 3 am MST leading up to December 25th.
In 2007, Google Analytics was used to began to analyze traffic at the Norad Santa Tracker website. This program has helped to analyze information, project the program scale and help determining volunteers needs. Santa Norad Tracker can also be found on Twitter and Facebook as well as other mobile media sites. As of December 12, 2012, the Twitter page had a following of over 93,418 people and the Facebook page has over 1 million fans.
The program has received and was provided publicity through:
-Northeast Air Defense Sector
-New York Air National Guard
-U.S. Naval Reserve
-Navy Information Bureau in Fort Carson, Colorado
-National Aeronautics and Space Administration
-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration