One of the first things a child learns about Santa Claus is the story of his sleigh journey around the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts with the help of his team of reindeer led – of course – by Rudolph.
But did you know that you can track Santa on his epic delivery round on December 24? Thanks to technology ranging from radar and jet fighters to Google Maps and special SantaCams, children (of all ages, even the bigger kids) can keep an eye on how far he is from your town on the night.
NORAD, the joint North American air defence body, first announced it had spotted Santa on its radar screens back in 1948, when it issued a notice on December 24 warning of “one unidentified sleigh, powered by eight reindeer, at 14,000ft, heading 180 degrees”.
But it was in 1955 that the huge operation at the defence body that swings into action every year first really got under way.
That Christmas, Sears Roebuck & Co, a department store, had put an advert in a local paper in Colorado Springs, complete with a phone number for children to call Santa so that they could tell him what gifts they were hoping for.
But unfortunately for the store, the advert contained a misprint – and instead of reaching the Santa standing by, the phone instead rang on the desk of Colonel Harry Shoup, who to his everlasting credit, had his staff check the radar and updated every child who called the misprinted number that day on Santa’s whereabouts – and so a tradition was born.