Jewish Journal


December 25, 2010

Tracking Santa’s every movement


Another great Greenberg Christmas is underway. Santa definitely brought a wonderful bounty. If I had wanted to track Saint Nick’s travels last night, I could have turned to NORAD. But how do they do it?

That, apparently, is a matter of national secret, if not security. The Richmond Times-Dispatch explains in “Operation jolly old elf.”

NORAD Tracks Santa, the official name of the exercise, began in 1955 when a Colorado Springs newspaper ad invited kids to talk to Santa on a hot line.

The phone number had a typo, and dozens of kids wound up dialing the Continental Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, the predecessor to NORAD.

The officers on duty played along and began passing along reports on Santa’s progress. It’s now a cherished ritual at NORAD, a joint United States-Canada command that monitors the North American skies and seas from a control center at Peterson Air Force Base.

“It’s really ingrained in the NORAD psyche and culture,” said Canadian Forces Lt. Gen. Marcel Duval, the deputy commander of NORAD, who pitches in to field French-language calls on Christmas Eve. “It’s a goodwill gesture from all of us, on our time off, to all the kids on the planet.”

Read the rest here. And watch above to see why it’s better to ask for gifts from Santa Claus rather than Shaqa Claus.

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