NORAD Santa Tracker bracing for onslaught of calls, emails

Santa tracking at NORAD began in 1955. (Photo: Flickr/John Piekos)

DENVER (AP) — Santa already is piling up hefty numbers on social networking sites, so the volunteer Santa-trackers at NORAD are bracing for tens of thousands of calls and emails on Christmas Eve.

NORAD Tracks Santa answered 80,000 phone calls last year from its operations center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Volunteers also answered 7,000 emails.

NORAD Tracks Santa started in 1955 because of a typo in a newspaper ad. Kids who thought they were calling Santa wound up talking to NORAD's predecessor.

Officers on duty played along and began relaying reports on Santa's progress. It's now a deep-rooted tradition at NORAD.

NORAD Tracks Santa already has more than 754,000 "likes" on Facebook this year, and 60,000 Twitter followers.

A new smart phone Santa-tracker app is also available this year.

You can find this year's NORAD Santa Tracker here.