NORAD says record number of calls to track Santa

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1955: The "NORAD Tracks Santa" tradition begins after a Sears department store mistakenly prints the phone number for Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center in an advertisement telling children they could call Santa. Col. Harry Shoup, who was on duty at CONAD that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a "current location" for Santa Claus. The tradition started that night would continue when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958 and continues to be a Christmas Eve tradition today.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Volunteers for the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker have answered a record number of calls from children -- and some adults -- curious about when the man in the red suit will land at their house.

NORAD Spokeswoman 1st Lt. Stacey Fenton says that as of midnight Tuesday, trackers answered more than 111,000 calls. That's more than last year's record of 107,000.

Trackers started taking calls early Monday. They included service members and first lady Michelle Obama, who picked up the phone while vacationing in Hawaii.

NORAD Tracks Santa began in 1955 when a newspaper ad listed the wrong phone number for kids to call Santa. They wound up calling the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD's predecessor.

The operation is based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

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