COVID-19 has changed many Christmas traditions, but one that won’t change is NORAD tracking Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. The Pentagon confirmed this week that the North American Aerospace Defense Command will be monitoring the skies to keep jolly old St. Nick safe.
The Pentagon’s Press Secretary was asked in a press conference if NORAD was still planning to track Santa. I guess they ran out of real questions. Or maybe the reporter was concerned about the staffing shortages affecting all sorts of operations lately, and if there’d be enough folks on duty to accurately track Santa.
“My understanding is that they absolutely will be tracking Santa this year. We have all kinds of capabilities to do that […] He will be kept safe,” the spokesman said.
Reporter: “The NORAD Track Santa program […] Are you going to have enough people to handle that program?”@PentagonPresSec: “My understanding is that they absolutely will be tracking Santa this year. We have all kinds of capabilities to do that […] He will be kept safe.” pic.twitter.com/ghWATSVL3g
— The Hill (@thehill) December 20, 2021
OK, it is easy to mock stuff like this, but it is a cute tradition. Tracking Santa on radar is something they’ve been doing for 60+ years at this point. The tradition dates back to 1955 when a newspaper directed children to call Santa, but the misprinted number actually rang to the Commander on Duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center.
He did the best he could to field children’s questions and promised they’d keep Santa safe on Christmas Eve. They began tracking him regularly ever since.
Now, the site has a host of games and interactive things to entertain kids beyond the radar tracking of Santa, which begins at 4:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve.