The Gadget Report will take a little detour today, since it's Christmas Eve and any gadget gift should have been purchased by now. So let's take a look at what technology has done for Christmas!

NORAD1.jpgNORAD has been monitoring the skies in defense of the continent. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (I know, but NAADC is not as easy to pronounce) is under the command of both the US president and the Canadian prime minister. Every Christmas Eve, they take on a very special mission as they track Santa in his sleigh and provide backup defense if it should ever be needed. Here's how that started, according to Wikipedia:

In 1955, a Colorado Springs-based Sears store ran an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus on a special telephone hotline. Due to a printing error, the phone number that was printed was the hotline for the Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense (CONAD). Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call on Christmas Eve of 1955 from a six-year old boy who began reciting his Christmas list. Shoup didn't find the call funny, but after asking the mother of the second caller what was happening, then realizing the mistake that occurred, he instructed his staff to give Santa's position to any child who called in.

When NORAD was organized in 1958, the phone tracking service continued. For years, NORAD has made their communications on this event available for radio broadcast, and added an internet feature in 1997. Tracking has already begun at the NORAD Tracks Santa site.