What Is NORAD's Santa Tracker?

norad-s-santa-tracker Credit: Per Breiehagen/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

The NORAD Santa tracker is a public service that tracks the location of Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and travels around the world delivering gifts on Christmas eve. The service is run by a joint Canadian and U.S. organization called the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

NORAD began the tradition of tracking Santa in 1955, after Sears Roebuck & Co of Colorado Springs had an advertisement for children to call Santa but misprinted the number. The misprinted phone number belonged to the operations hotline for the commander-in-chief of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), which gave the current Director of Operations Colonel Harry Shoup the idea to have his staff track Santa's movements by radar.