NORAD’s Santa Tracker app has been updating children on Santa’s location since 1955. But did you know NORAD actually stands for U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command? So how did a military agency get involved with making kids happy each December? Read on to discover the holiday story.

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screenshot via noradsanta.org

All Because of a Misprinted Number
During Christmas, a Sears department store put in a newspaper ad urging kids to call Santa for a one-on-one conversation. The actual ad said,”Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct … Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night.” Somehow that number was misprinted, and a child ended up calling U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations at CONAD.

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Shoup’s daughter remembers the story with a bit more detail, saying that her father first barked into the phone, demanding to know who was calling, which made sense as the hotline was for military emergencies only. More specifically, the landline was only meant to ring if Russians were attacking, so you can imagine the surprise on Col. Harry Shoup’s face when a crying voice asked if he was Santa’s elf!

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Fortunately, not to ruin the holiday spirit, Col. Harry Shoup played along and even appointed a staff member to provide updates on Santa’s whereabouts on all future calls. Since then NORAD has relied on volunteers to help kids track Santa for 60 years from December 1st to the 25th. Visit the site to learn more!

App: Free on GooglePlay and iTunes
Online: noradsanta.org

Have you used a Santa Tracker before? Let us know how it went in the Comments below! 

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