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NORAD Tracking Santa’s Annual Christmas Journey

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(Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Santa Claus is coming to town!

Are your kids planning on staying up tonight to wait for Santa to come down the chimney? Well, they can track his progress as he makes his annual global journey using NORAD.

NORAD has been helping keep track of Santa’s travels since 1955.

And volunteers are already in place at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., taking phone calls and watching wall-sized tracking screens!

TRACK SANTA CLAUS:

Colorado Springs is home of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The first shift of Santa trackers started taking calls early Monday at 877-HI-NORAD (877-446-6723), telling children — and some adults — when Santa is due at their house. The last shift won’t end until nearly 24 hours later.

NORAD, a joint U.S.-Canada command responsible for protecting the skies over both nations, says its Santa-tracking rite was born of a typo in a newspaper ad in 1955.

The ad in a Colorado Springs newspaper invited children to call Santa but inadvertently listed the phone number for the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor, also based in Colorado Springs.

CONAD officers played along, and word spread that this Cold War military command charged with guarding the U.S. against an attack by the Soviet Union was also telling kids where Santa was.

Since then, NORAD Tracks Santa has gone global, progressing through bulletins on AM radios and black-and-white TVs to updates on Facebook, Twitter and smartphone aps.

Last year, volunteers answered almost 102,000 calls, nearly 25 percent more than the previous year. They also answered more than 7,700 emails.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website attracted 18.9 million unique visitors from 220 countries and territories during December 2011.

This year, the program had more than one million likes on Facebook and nearly 97,000 followers on Twitter days before the tracking operation got under way.

RELATED LINKS:
The Holiday Guide

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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