How exactly did NORAD start tracking Santa?

If you celebrate Christmas, chances are you or someone you know has used the handy-dandy tracker NORAD, to track Santa on Christmas eve to see what time he will deliver presents to your house.

There’s a whole science behind how they are able to track him and you can read more about that here. But if you’ve ever wondered when and why NORAD started tracking Santa, we’ve got you covered.

According to NORAD, in 1955, a child called into the Continental Air Defense Command Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Christmas eve.

“Answering the call, Col. Harry Shalp was surprised to hear the voice of a child asking to speak to Santa Claus,” NORAD said.

Soon after that, the phones were ringing off the hook all with children on the other end of line with the same question – Asking to speak to Santa.

So why were all of these kids coincidentally calling the wrong number with the same question?

How did NORAD start?
How did NORAD start?

Well, a Sears store had placed an ad in the local paper hoping to draw kids to their holiday toy sale. In that ad it included a number that was supposed to be Santa’s number.

The ad read, “Hey, Kiddies! Call me on my telephone. Just dial ME 2-6681. Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night, or come visit me at Sears Toyland. – Santa Claus.”

But there was a misprint and the number they had printed in the ad was actually the number to a very important phone at the Continental Air Defense Command Center. A phone that only a four star general or the president of the United States is suppose to call.

After the initial surprise and confusion, Col. Shalp decided to go along with it and thus, a holiday tradition was born.

“Col. Shalp’s command team fielded calls all night long checking radars and informing children of Santa’s progress,” NORAD said.

The tradition then continued after that year through the founding of NORAD in 1958 and has gone on to become a global phenomenon.

So if you’re sitting patiently in your home right now awaiting Santa’s arrival, just know you can track him on NORAD to see how much longer you have to wait all because of simple misprint.


Stay Connected

Stay up to date on all things Bluff City Weekend!

Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Instagram