The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 24, 2013

5 things to know about tracking Santa's journey

PETERSON AFB, Colo. —

For kids who can't wait for Santa to arrive, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has a Christmas treat. Visions of sugar plums can be augmented by a check on his progress around the globe on Christmas Eve. Here are five things to know about the holiday tradition called NORAD Tracks Santa:

1. HOW DO YOU FOLLOW SANTA'S PATH?

NORAD provides updates by phone, Facebook, Twitter and email. If you call 877-HI-NORAD, a live person will give you an update. Online: http://www.noradsanta.org . Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/noradsanta . Twitter: @NoradSanta. Email: noradtrackssanta@outlook.com. Smartphone apps are also available at app stores. NORAD's Santa operations center opens at 6 a.m. ET on Dec. 24. NORAD says Santa usually starts in the South Pacific and hits New Zealand and Australia before heading to Japan and Asia. Africa and Europe are next, followed by North America and South America. "Santa calls the shots," NORAD says on its website. "We just track him!"

2. HOW MANY PEOPLE FOLLOW SANTA?

Last year, volunteers answered 114,000 phone calls from around the world. The website had 22.3 million unique visitors. NORAD Tracks Santa had 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 129,000 on Twitter.

3. WHY DOES NORAD DO IT?

In 1955, a local newspaper advertisement invited children to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline or NORAD's predecessor. Rather than disappoint the kids, commanders told them they indeed knew where Santa was. NORAD, a U.S.-Canadian operation based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., continues the tradition every Christmas Eve.

4. WHY WAS THERE CONTROVERSY THIS YEAR?

A children's advocacy group complained that an animated video on the NORAD Tracks Santa website injected militarism into Christmas by showing fighter jets escorting Santa's sleigh on a 39-second video promoting the event. NORAD says the fighter escort is nothing new. NORAD began depicting jets accompanying Santa and his reindeer in the 1960s.

5. WHAT DO KIDS ASK WHEN THEY CALL?

Among the questions kids have had on their minds when they called in previous years:

— "Am I on the nice list or the naughty list?"

— "Can you put my brother on the naughty list?"

— "Are you an elf?"

— "How much to adopt one of Santa's reindeer?"

 

 

1
Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee