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An inside look at how NORAD has tracked Santa Claus for more than 65 years

More than 1500 volunteers spent their day answering phone calls and tracking Santa for kids around the world
Posted at 11:32 PM, Dec 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-25 01:32:44-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — In 1955, Col. Harry Shoupe received a call at NORAD expecting the worst. When he answered, a little girl on the other line asked where Santa Claus was. 68 years later, NORAD still spends every Christmas Eve tracking Ol' Saint Nick across the globe.

"Why is this a priority for NORAD? Well, it's Santa! Why wouldn't it be?" said Major General William Radiff.

Radiff says NORAD has recently moved from just tracking Santa to helping him navigate the night skies. At a time when there's more air traffic and satellites in the air than ever before, it's a necessity.

"We use a combination of radar and satellite and some other stuff I can't even tell you about!" he continued.

Katie Cornelio has volunteered at the NORAD Christmas Eve Call Center 8 times. She says if there's one thing she's figured out, it's that her holiday spirit keeps growing every year.

"I am 21 years old and I still cannot sleep on Christmas Eve night!" she told me.

Cornelio is one of 1500 volunteers who cycle throughout Peterson Space Force Base throughout the day to take phone calls from kids around the world. Those volunteers tell people
when Santa will fly over their house, while also letting them know if they're on the naughty or nice list.

"When I was younger I always loved to call in, and now that I'm older I have the privilege to be answering those phone calls now," said Cornelio. "It's just a glimpse of how magical Santa, is, and when you get that answer of when Santa is coming to my house, I know when I got that answer I was freaking out! So I just think it gives a glimpse to that Christmas magic that we also want so badly".


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