Even in 2020, NORAD Is Ready for Its Christmas Mission

It seems all holidays since March have been very different, but there’s one Christmas tradition that COVID can’t change.


What You Need To Know

  • NORAD Santa Tracking is in its 65th year
  • The mission will happen on December 24
  • Fewer volunteers will be able to answer calls
  • New technology is available this year

Every Chrismas Eve, children have the chance to track Santa’s flight around the world.

NORAD says their annual Santa tracking during its 65th anniversary year will happen this Chrismtas Eve. NORAD stands for North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Santa tracking began in 1955 because of a mistake.

On Christmas Eve that year, a girl in Colorado Springs called the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs. She saw an ad in the local paper about calling to see where Santa was. 

According to NORAD’s website, “The ad said ‘Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.’ However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.”

Colonel Harry Shoup was on duty that night and answered the call. He became known as the “Santa Colonel.”

He took many calls that night and a new Christmas tradition was born.

Every year, thousands of volunteers answer calls and e-mails from around the world. COVID will change how many volunteers can be in the operations center.

“This year, only a small number of volunteers will be answering the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD, on Dec. 24,” NORAD says in a news release.

With fewer volunteers, you might get an automated message. Don’t worry – that message will update you on Santa’s whereabouts. 

NORAD says their website and a new mobile app may also be a good way to check in on Santa Claus this year. 

You don’t have to wait until December 24. You can visit http://www.noradsanta.org right now for some pre-Chrismtas fun and games.