NORAD’s 50th Anniversary of Tracking Santa reports that NORAD has been tracking Santa every year since 1955:

The tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955, when a local Sears, Roebuck and Co. store ran a newspaper ad urging children to make a phone call on Christmas Eve and talk to Santa Claus. As fate would have it, the phone number was misprinted and, instead of reaching Santa, youngsters found themselves talking with Air Force Col. Harry Shoup of the Continental Air Defense Command at Cheyenne Mountain.

Rather than hanging up, Shoup and his troops answered every child’s call that night with a report of Santa’s location.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering,

Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and the North Pole’s Kris Kringle, a.k.a. Santa Claus, signed an Open Skies aviation agreement in Washington, D.C. today, giving Santa and his team of reindeer greater access to the rooftops of good kids everywhere.

For years, Santa had been required to make an annual request to the Secretary of Transportation for a special flight certificate in order to deliver his Christmas goodies. With this new agreement, it will be easier for Santa to finish his job all in one night.

“Santa can now focus on making his list and checking it twice, without the hassle of government paperwork,” said Secretary Mineta. “Thanks to this agreement, the only time he needs to worry about Red Tape is if he wants to use it to wrap presents.”

A little cheesy, but still fun…

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