Every year on Christmas Eve, "NORAD Tracks Santa" sets out to track Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world.The program began on December 24, 1955, when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was incorrect and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a "current location" for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.Today, NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program possible. Each volunteer handles about forty telephone calls per hour, and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries and territories. Most of these contacts happen during the twenty-five hours from 2 a.m. on December 24 until 3 a.m. MST on December 25. Google Analytics has been in use since December 2007 to analyze traffic at the NORAD Tracks Santa website. As a result of this analysis information, the program can project and scale volunteer staffing, telephone equipment, and computer equipment needs for Christmas Eve. Volunteers include NORAD military and civilian personnel.Now, you can track Santa's journey all day and night online. For an exact location, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, the organization hasn't done away with good old-fashioned phone lines. Volunteers are standing by to take kids' calls at 1-877-HI-NORAD or 1-877-446-6723.To visit the NORAD website and track Santa yourself, just click here.
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