NORAD marks 50 years of reporting Santa's delivery run

Sunday, December 25, 2005

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The military agency dedicated to detecting any threats against the United States and Canada is marking the 50th year of reporting Santa's sleigh ride.

With help from several civilian companies, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, operates a Web site reporting Santa's progress and answers calls and e-mails from people around the world. Last year, the tracking Web site at received 912 million hits from 181 countries.

According to NORAD lore, the tradition began in 1955 when Sears-Roebuck placed an ad in The Gazette in Colorado Springs telling children to dial a number if they wanted to talk to Santa.

But the number was one digit off. When the first call came to NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, Col. Harry Shoup told an eager child he would check the radars for Santa.

The Web site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

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