Everyone should know NORAD - the North American Aerospace Defense Command. For more than 50 years it has tracked Santa Claus's progress on Christmas Eve, keeping us informed of his relative whereabouts.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition which NORAD has carried on since it was created in 1958.
Well, the good news is that NORAD is ready to track Santa's yuletide journey again this year - and we're thrilled to hear it! The NORAD Tracks Santa website features a holiday countdown, games and daily activities, video messages from students around the world and more. Furthermore, you will be able to track Santa in eight languages - English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Santa travels far and wide and the multiple languages will be crucial for equally wide coverage.
It gets better for all of us mobile users. Look for official NORAD Tracks Santa mobile apps in the Windows Store, Apple Store and Google Play - we can all count down the days until Santa's launch on our smartphones and tablets! Tracking is also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Santa followers simply need to type @noradsanta into each search engine to get started.
Starting at 12 a.m. MST on December 24th, website visitors can watch Santa make the preparations for his flight. At 4:00 a.m. MST (6:00 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide will be able to speak with a live phone operator to learn Santa's whereabouts - simply dial the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. NORAD's "Santa Cams" will also stream videos as Santa makes his way over a variety of locations. Will he make a stop at the Island of Misfit Toys this year?
NORAD Tracks Santa is a global experience, and has long delighted generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors. It doesn't happen in a vacuum and it is critical to NORAD's preparations to get technology assistance from one and all. New to helping NORAD out this year are Bing, HP, iLink-Systems, Kids.gov, Microsoft's Windows Azure, BeMerry! Santa and SiriusXM.
Returning collaborators include the 21st Space Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Air Canada, American Forces Network, Analytical Graphics Inc., Avaya, Citadel Mall, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council, CradlePoint, Defense Video Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), Federal Aviation Administration, First Choice Awards & Gifts, Globelink Foreign Language Center, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Meshbox, National Tree Lighting Ceremony, Naturally Santa¹s Inc., Newseum, OnStar, PCI Broadband, Pentagon Channel, RadiantBlue, Space Foundation, TurboSquid, twtelecom, UGroup Media, Verizon, and VisionBox. Santa's Countdown Calendar and the Santa Cam videos will feature music by military bands, including the Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific, Air Force Academy Band, Air Force Band of Liberty, Air Force Band of the Golden West, Air Force Band of the West, Air Force Band, Air Force Heartland of America Band, U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Band, Air Force Band of Mid-America and the West Point Band.
It's a very long list of companies contributing to a very worthy cause. We ourselves have always been concerned about where Santa is - we want to make sure our milk and cookies are always ready. This year will be our first with mobile apps in hand - we look forward to joining in on Santa's journey once again!
Edited by Rachel Ramsey