Mental Floss

NORAD Tracks Santa

Miss Cellania
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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!

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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.

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