Today in History – December 24, 1955 – 1st tracking of Santa’s flight by CONAD (NORAD)

24 December 1955 – One small typo started the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa’s Christmas Eve flight. In 1955, a Colorado department store gave out a phone number for children to call and speak to Santa. A typographical error in the number connected kids to the hotline for the Director of Operations at Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD).

Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night, was quick to realize the mistake and told his team to tell the children that CONAD would guarantee Santa a safe journey from the North Pole and to give Santa’s whereabouts to whoever called in.

The tradition continued at NORAD when it was formed in 1958. (1)

“Thanks to the services and resources generously provided by numerous corporate contributors and volunteers, NORAD Tracks Santa has persevered for more than 60 years. NORAD Tracks Santa has flourished and is recognized as one of the Department of Defense’s largest community outreach programs.

Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly fifteen million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 130,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.” (2)

To find Santa this year go to or call 1-877-HI-NORAD

You can also track him on your cell, Facebook, and other social media.

Sources: (1) Wikipedia, (2) NORAD Tracks Santa

Scroll to Top