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Sat, Nov 18, 2006

Too Early For Christmas Spirit?

NORAD Doesn't Think So...

The North American Aerospace Defense Command announced yesterday it activated its "NORAD Tracks Santa" website for 2006. This marks the 51st season NORAD will track Santa Claus on his annual journey around the world.

The US-Canadian command's program began in 1955 when a young child made an errant phone call to the Operations Center of the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs, CO -- the CADC was NORAD's predecessor. The youngster dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement.

The child wanted to know Santa's whereabouts. The commander taking the call couldn't stand to let the little guy down, so he answered the question with military precision! Thus was born the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa.

The program has grown immensely since it was first presented on the Internet in 1998. Last year, the site received 912 million "hits" from 204 countries and territories.

The "NORAD Tracks Santa" Operations Center, manned by 550 volunteers on Christmas Eve, answered some 55,000 phone calls and over 98,000 e-mails from children around the world.

The site features the history of the program, information on how NORAD actually tracks Santa and interactive games.

Also on the site you can find NORAD contact info including phone numbers and email addresses kids can use to correspond with center personnel. There's also an email address for Santa.

On Dec. 24, beginning at 2am Mountain Time, the site will feature a minute-by-minute update on Santa's travels around the world. All information is available English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

FMI: www.noradsanta.org

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