Why does NORAD track Santa (Read 485 times)


    (Cliff Claven alert)


    Have you ever wondered why NORAD tracks Santa on Christmas Eve?  I actually never did... it just seemed to make sense that the same equipment used to track inbound missiles and stuff might be able to track a sleigh and some reindeer.


    But it turns out, there's a story and it is pretty cool.



    The program began on December 24, 1955 when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was incorrect and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children that called in a "current location" for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958



    Colonel Shoup deserves a toast.


    Merry Christmas to everyone who cares and happy Monday and Tuesday to everyone.



      One of the volunteer projects I worked on involved figuring out a replacement sleigh for Santa.  Flying reindeer are hard to find.  (think... the jet pack from Elf).


      My group's proof of concept went poorly.  Here was the result.  Don't worry, the team ejected safely.



        You are up early, HI time.


          You are up early, HI time.


          I am in Seattle!



          Chief Unicorn Officer

            I never knew there was a backstory!  Thanks for sharing Smile

            Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54


              It is very cool!


              And, seriously, God and FSM bless Colonel Shoup.  Who could have been all grumpy and "this is a military installation! How did you get our number!" and TSA-like with his response.  Instead, he was very cool.  Given the tensions that his staff must have had in the 50s coupled with, well, the sheer boredom of that job, and double all that up for the people having to work on Christmas Eve night... what a stroke of genius.


              As Michael Scott would say: win, win, win.



              Proboscis Colossus

                Very cool story, thanks!


                I assume that's you in the pic?


                Hmm...I think I prefer to envision you as looking like John Belushi.  Or at least Jim.


                No offense.

                "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                  He comes from the North. Is red. Flies. 50's. I'm thinking Santa is a Soviet spy.

                  Will run for scenery.

                    Ha ! Now I have another Claven-ism with which to impress and further annoy my friends.  I don't know what other honors Col. Shoup may have received, but there is a road named after him here in "the Springs".  So he's in a league with MLK and 37 local realtors.

                    Stupid feet!

                    Stupid elbow!

                      I've followed NORAD Santa a few times and have read about that first time- pretty neat story.


                      Squidward Bike Rider

                        Just started following on Twitter.


                          NORAD had previously partnered with Google for a few years worth of Santa tracking. This year, they dumped Google in favor of Microsoft.


                          Anyway, Google and Microsoft totally did not match when it came to Santa tracking yesterday.


                          Queen of 3rd Place

                            Not to worry, it's completely understandable:

                            "Some experts have speculated that the only way Santa could  deliver gifts (or lumps of coal) to billions of homes in the course of just a few hours would be if he somehow harnessed quantum teleportation. And once you accept that, it's not that big of a leap to detect Santa in two places at once."

                            Ex runner