PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) — For kids who can't wait for Santa to arrive, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has a Christmas treat. Visions of sugar plums can be augmented by a check on the fabled fat man's progress around the globe on Christmas Eve. Here are five things to know about the holiday tradition called NORAD Tracks Santa:
1. HOW DO YOU FOLLOW SANTA'S PATH?
NORAD provides updates by phone, Facebook, Twitter and email. If you call 877-HI-NORAD, an operator will give you an update. Online: http://www.noradsanta.org . Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noradsanta . Twitter: @NoradSanta. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Smartphone apps also are available at app stores.
NORAD's Santa operations center opened at 6 a.m. EST on Dec. 24 and has received tens of thousands of calls from around the world. This year, Santa's first stop after leaving the North Pole was Novoye Chaplino, Russia, NORAD said. The Canadian naval ship Regina reported seeing Santa on its radar near the Arabian Sea. Santa usually ends his trip in North America and South America. "Santa calls the shots," NORAD says on its website. "We just track him!"
2. HOW MANY PEOPLE FOLLOW SANTA?
As of 10 p.m. MST on Christmas Eve, volunteers answered 101,300 calls, officials said. The website had 50.6 million page views and 13.6 million site visits as of the same time.
Last year, volunteers answered 114,000 phone calls from around the world. The website had 22.3 million unique visitors. NORAD Tracks Santa had 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 129,000 on Twitter.