Christmas Day is here and The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is keeping close track of Santa Claus, who's already delivered over 7 billion gifts (and counting). According to NORAD's tracker, Santa was last seen in Hawaii (visit NORAD's official site here for minute to minute updates).
According to NORAD's website, the tradition of tracking Santa started in 1955 when a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa, putting kids through NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) instead. Then Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole.
And, as technology has become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, it is now possible for kids to track Santa online through the tools made available not only by NORAD but now also by the likes of Google and YouTube, where NORAD's official channel now shows videos of Santa passing through the world's hot spots.
This year NORAD has also been witness of an important shift as result of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, with kids calling NORAD not to ask for gifts for themselves — as it's usually the case — but to ask for "extra presents" for the kids and families of Newtown. In addition, First Lady Michelle Obama has also volunteered to answer phone calls on behalf of Santa.