RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Preparations for monitoring Old St. Nick’s worldwide journey on Christmas Eve, which includes several passes over the Inland Empire, will be finalized Friday when the North American Aerospace Defense Command unveils its 2023 Santa Tracker.
This will mark the 68th straight year NORAD, located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, has provided simulated tracking of Santa Claus’ global mission to deliver gifts and cheer, according to the agency.
The tracker will be online beginning Friday morning at www.noradsanta.org, focused on the North Pole, awaiting Kris Kringle’s epic trip on Dec. 24.
In 2022, the tracker captured Santa and his reindeer crossing Riverside County into San Bernardino County from south to north, as well as a depiction of the sleigh flying directly from Twentynine Palms to Moreno Valley.
“The (website) features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, movie theater, holiday music, web store and more,” NORAD said. “The website is available in nine languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and new this year, Korean.”
NORAD will be providing updates regarding the upcoming flight via most social media platforms.
“On Dec. 24, trackers worldwide can call 1-877-HI-NORAD to ask our live operators about Santa’s location from 6 a.m. to midnight mountain standard time,” the agency said. “Website visitors will see Santa’s flight from 4 a.m. to midnight MST.”
NORAD, which is responsible for identifying and sounding alarms regarding potential airborne threats to the U.S. and Canada, inaugurated the Santa tracking tradition informally in 1955 when a child called the wrong number and connected with an aerospace command colonel asking about Santa’s whereabouts. He assured the girl that the jolly man would make it through the night safely.
NORAD formalized Santa tracking in 1958, providing reports to media regarding Santa’s progress making the rounds on Christmas Eve.
“Though the program began due to a misdialed number, `NORAD Tracks Santa’ has flourished and is recognized as one of the Department of Defense’s largest community outreach programs,” according to the agency.
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