It's officially Christmas Eve, which means it's time for Santa Claus to travel the globe on his sleigh, gifting presents to kids on the nice list with the help of his eight trusty reindeer. Thanks to the NORAD tracker, eager gift recipients (and parents) can track Santa's progress around the world, making it easier for some and harder for others to go to sleep on Tuesday night.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker has helped kids track Santa for over 60 years, starting in 1955 and now marking year 64 of following Santa around the globe. The tradition was accidentally started when a child called NORAD's predecessor in an effort to speak to Santa after reading a misprinted phone number in the newspaper which put them in touch with Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, who told the child that he was Santa upon taking the call.
Now, Santa-watchers can follow the man with the bag online or by calling 1-877-HI-NORAD, where around 1,500 volunteers are standing by to take calls from around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning through around 2 a.m. on Christmas Day. According to News 5 Cleveland, Canadian Army Major Andrew Hennessy estimates that the service will answer around 150,000 calls in addition to thousands of emails and social media messages. NORAD's Twitter account is also sharing location updates as well as videos of the Santa tracker volunteers at the call center.
A call into the Ops Center to one of Santa Tracker volunteers...call us at 1-877-HI-NORAD pic.twitter.com/Js86J21vbU— NORAD Tracks Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2019
"Being a parent myself, the power of Santa is pretty strong and being able to share that joy with kids and families around the world is pretty unique," Hennessy told Newsweek.
The volunteers work in two-hour shifts, and while the volunteers are prepped on how to respond should a child ask an unpredictable question, Hennessy shared that the most important reply is letting their young callers know when Santa is set to arrive in their town to make sure they're asleep in bed.
"I've delivered that message and heard the phone hit the floor," he said. "A parent will pick up the phone and say, 'Can I call back tomorrow? They haven't ever gone to bed that easy.'"
At the time of this writing, Santa was making his way through Asia, leaving Dubai and heading toward Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
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