Santa Claus.

Santa’s sleigh sighted; he’s on his way to Cloverdale

NORAD officials tracking the flight of gifts and toys.

Children can breathe a sigh of relief – Santa Claus is on his way.

The jolly old elf and his team of flying reindeer have left the North Pole and are on their way to Surrey, officials at NORAD confirmed earlier today.

NORAD, or North American Aerospace Defence Command, is tracking Santa’s magical Christmas Eve flight as he makes his way around the globe, providing up-to-the minute coverage on his location as he delivers gifts to the children of the world.

The results are being posted throughout the day on NORAD’s Santa Tracker website, www.noradsanta.org, where you can also watch the number of gifts delivered add up in real time.

It’s easy to find out where he’s been and where he is headed for next.

You can also follow Santa’s progress on Twitter, using the hashtag #NORAD.

It’s known from Santa Cam images that he uses a herd of flying reindeer for quick transportation, but detailed information remains elusive after all these years.

“The fact that Santa Claus is more than 16 centuries old, yet does not appear to age, is our biggest clue that he does not work within time as we know it,” the Santa Tracker website says.

“His Christmas Eve trip may seem to take around 24 hours, but to Santa it may last days, weeks or even months in standard time,” it says.

“Santa would not want to rush the important job of distributing presents to children and spreading Christmas happiness to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa functions within a different time-space continuum than the rest of us do.”

The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955, when children began calling CONAD, the predecessor to NORAD, hoping to speak with Santa Claus.

A misprint in a department store advertisement resulted in a big mix-up.

Children dialing Santa’s telephone number were mistakenly put through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “Hotline” instead.

The original “Santa Tracker,” the late Col. (retired) Harry Shoup of the U.S. Air Force, the director-in-chief at the time, had his staff check the radar for signs that Santa was making his way south from the North Pole, the site says.

“Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.”

Now, volunteers staff call centres, fielding thousands of phone calls from 200 countries each Christmas Eve.

The Santa tracker has Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts.

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