In 1955, a Colorado Springs-based Sears store ran an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus on a special telephone hotline. Due to a printing error, the phone number that was printed was the hotline for the Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense (CONAD). Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call on Christmas Eve of 1955 from a six-year old boy who began reciting his Christmas list. Shoup didn’t find the call funny, but after asking the mother of the second caller what was happening, then realizing the mistake that occurred, he instructed his staff to give Santa’s position to any child who called in.
Thus a tradition was born. I remember, as a kid listening to and then later watching the NORAD reports on Christmas Eve,1967 . We were stationed at Fort Carson Colorado, in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain so the reports were not to be doubted.
I’ve carried on the tradition and now we track Santa on the Internet.
NORAD Tracks Santa® Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 3:00a.m. MST on December 24th. You can call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location. Operators are available until 3:00a.m. on Dec. 25th to answer your calls!