I have hung the stockings and this weekend I’m off to get the tree. If you have young children at home or if you’re just a kid at heart, you’ll like what Google and NORAD are up to. A tradition of tracking Santa Claus, which was started in 1955, is still happening today, but thanks to Google Earth, this Christmas you can track Santa online.
What is NORAD? It’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the U. S. and Canada. They inadvertently got involved in tracking Santa. In 1955, a Sears store published an ad that said kids could call Santa, but they put the wrong phone number. It was actually a phone number to NORAD, who decided to humor the kids. The organization started tracking Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve and continue to do that today. Working with Google, now they made it possible to see Santa’s trip in 3D, using Google Earth.
The fun started on December 1st when NORAD started adding an new online game each day until December 24th. Today it’s a space invaders-type game where you try to dodge snowballs and trees coming at your sleigh. On December 24th, starting at 1:00 am PST you can track Santa’s trip in real time. You can also send an email to Santa (I don’t know if he writes back or not). Incidentally, at a recent party, I overheard someone talk about his letters to Santa site where for a small fee you can get a letter from Santa that you can print out at home.
Google Earth will be on Santa’s trail, or you can track it with the NORAD Tracks Santa iGoogle gadget. On December 24, you can get the Santa Tracking file at noradsanta.org.