NORAD Tracks Santa on His Trek Around the Globe

NORAD looks forward to bringing the 65th year of NORAD Tracks Santa to children around the world.

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher December 14, 2020

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is busy preparing for its annual tradition of tracking Santa's journey as he delivers gifts to girls and boys around the world. NORAD looks forward to bringing the 65th year of NORAD Tracks Santa to children and families around the world.

How It Began

In 1955, there was a newspaper ad inviting children to call Santa Claus. The ad said, "Hey Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number!"

However, the number was printed incorrectly and instead of reaching the North Pole, it connected callers to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colonel Harry Shoup — now known as the Santa Colonel — was the crew commander on duty that night. He assured the first caller that they had the right number, then assigned an officer to continue answering calls. When NORAD was created in 1958, it chose to continue the holiday tradition that was born that night.

Serving Children Around the World

Today, NORAD uses satellite systems, high-powered radars, and jet fighters to keep tabs on Santa Claus as he travels the world.

The Norad Tracks Santa program has become a worldwide phenomenon. Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers respond to more than 12,000 e-mails and answer over 70,000 phone calls from children around the globe.

Visit Santa's North Pole Village Online

The online experience is now live and provides information and games to get everyone ready for the big night. Count down the days until Christmas by visiting the NORAD Tracks Santa website at

Families can play games, watch movies about Santa and NORAD, listen to holiday music, shop the online store, and much more! The website is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

How to Track Santa in 2020

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the NORAD Tracks Santa™ program is on schedule. However, some adjustments have been made to safely carry out this very special mission. NORAD is committed to tracking Santa while keeping our military, their families, and the dedicated call center volunteers safe.

Beginning at 4:00 AM MST on December 24, families can call (877) Hi-NORAD to inquire about Santa's whereabouts. However, the call center will have only a small number of volunteers to answer incoming calls. If the volunteers are unable to answer, callers will hear a recorded update on Santa's current location.

Website visitors will see NORAD's "Santa Cams" streaming videos as Santa makes his way over various locations. Santa trackers can also find up-to-the-minute Santa stats on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Additionally, the official NORAD Tracks Santa app has been updated for 2020 and is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.

Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa. OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.