It was revealed that volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado have received about 100,000 telephone queries about Santa’s progress late Saturday, breaking the previous year’s mark of 80,000. “The phones are ringing like crazy,” Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis said.
Santa’s popularity has also risen: his Facebook official page approached 980,000 “likes,” having beat the previous number of 716,000 “likes.”
Volunteers from the North American Aerospace Defense Command have been responding curious children about Santa’s whereabouts since 1955.
“The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born,” says NORAD’s website.
“The staff realized what was happening and started taking the phone calls,” NORAD spokesman Lt. Commander Bill Lewis told the Los Angeles Times. “Ever since then, we have taken on the important responsibility of tracking Santa.”
“We track Santa live as he travels north to south, moving across the time zones as he moves across the globe,” Lewis added. “Santa cams will capture him at various points flying over the city and delivering the gifts.”
It seems he likes his job:
“Tracking Santa really fits in to what we do, monitoring U.S. and Canadian airspace. We’re looking to the skies of Canada and the United States, so if Santa is flying around, it gives us the situational awareness that it’s him and it’s not a threat to the United States.”
Officials said this year’s boom was generated by people passing the word as well as social media interest.
“I think what happens is that every year the ones the participated” said Canadian Navy Lt. Al Blondin. “There’s word of mouth.”
Blondid also revealed that after visiting many nations, Santa’s first destination in the U.S. was Atlanta.
According to NORAD, this year Santa is to conquer the top of the world. The sleigh easily scaled Mount Everest and then zoomed over the Taj Mahal in India.
Santa’s route is usually scheduled. As a rule, he arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight, traveling from east to west.
To learn the further information children, as well as adults, can follow Santa One’s journey online with the Santa Tracker at NORADsanta.org.
In addition to the website and Facebook and Twitter pages, this year was released a new tracking app for smart phones that includes the Elf Toss, a game similar to Angry Birds. According to officials, it was downloaded more than 700,000 times.
Michelle Obama joined the volunteers for a second year in a row. She received about 10 calls when spending vacation in Hawaii. Lewis said first lady’s voice didn’t throw any of the wondering children.