A pen rests on the playbook for volunteers who will be taking calls from around the globe in the NORAD Tracks Santa center at Petserson Air Force Base, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A pen rests on the playbook for volunteers who will be taking calls from around the globe in the NORAD Tracks Santa center at Petserson Air Force Base, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Where’s Santa? NORAD is tracking the jolly old man around the globe this Christmas

As with all things, the Santa tracker will look a little different this year

Do you hear that? The faint jingling?

That’s the sound of a certain jolly ol’ fellow and his reindeer setting off from the North Pole to deliver presents galore to eagerly waiting children around the world.

Santa Claus has been declared an essential worker and he has a big job ahead of him tonight; he needs to bring some good Christmas cheer at the end of what has been a not-so-cheery year.

VIDEO: Santa Claus cleared for arrival in Canada

Want to know when Santa will drop by your house? Track Santa’s location live, right here. By 8 a.m. PT on Christmas Eve, he had already dropped off more than 1.7 billion gifts and was flying over Da Nang, Vietnam.

But like all things, NORAD looks a little different this year. Normally, 150-160 volunteers crowd into a conference room at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, taking two-hour shifts to answer the phones as eager children call to see if Santa and his sleigh have reached their rooftops. All together, 1,500 people over 20 hours have participated in the call centre in the past, fielding more than 130,000 phone calls, beginning at 6 a.m. Eastern time on Christmas Eve.

This year, COVID restrictions mean that only 10 operators will be working during each shift. As a result, although some callers will be able to talk to a member of the military or other volunteer when they call the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD, others will get a recorded update on Santa’s current location.

Even though the NORAD initiative will be a little different this year, they’re committed to continuing the long-held tradition.

It’s now been 65 years since a misprinted advertisement led to the annual tradition enjoyed globally.

In 1955, a newspaper advertisement that directed children to call Santa direct included the wrong number.

Instead of directing kids to call Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defence Command in Colorado. In 1958, NORAD took on the tradition.

READ MORE: Sorry, Grinch. Virus won’t stop NORAD from tracking Santa


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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