Santa and his elves are preparing to take flight on Christmas eve to deliver toys to children across the country.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, tracks Santa and his flight around the world every year. NORAD has been tracking Santa for over 60 years, but the real story started back in 1955 with a misprint in a newspaper.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

[via noradsanta.org]

Three years later in 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, mainly referred to as NORAD. They took on the wonderful tradition of tracking Santa around the world.

NORAD not only takes their job of tracking Santa seriously, but also its main job of protecting the North America from aerospace attacks.

"We have the watch."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and Canada bi-national organization which defends the homeland through aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.

[via noradsanta.org]

Tracking Santa through NORAD begins December 24th. NORAD also has a lot of fun games to play on their Santa tracker website leading up to Santa's departure.

See the Santa tracker below and don't forget to leave out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer!

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