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NORAD ready to track Santa's big flight

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating its 61st anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey. The website is up and officials say they are ready for another big year.

According to officials, this year the website will feature Santa’s North Pole Village, a holiday countdown, games activities and it will be available in eight different languages.

The website has been made available in app form on Windows, Apple and Google Play. Parents can also find it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+.

On Christmas Eve beginning at 11:01 p.m., children can watch as Santa prepares for his big flight. They’ll stream videos of Santa as he makes his way over various locations.

Later that same day, trackers can speak with a live phone operator to inquire about his whereabouts by calling 1-877-HI-NORAD. They’ll have an email where you can get a response at noradtracksanta@outlook.com. Windows phone users and Cortana users can also use their features to track the big guy.

The tradition began in 1955 when a local media advertisement invited children to call Santa direct, but the number was misprinted and instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defence Command Operations Center.

NORAD formalized the tradition in 1958 and carried it on ever since.

“He loves being tracked by NORAD and every time we have our fighter jets escort him,” said Lieutenant Marco Chouinard with NORAD and the Royal Canadian Navy.

“He’s actually met by CF-18 pilots when he first enters Canadian airspace and each time the pilots wave the wings to tell Santa ‘we’re tracking you again’ and he always waves back because he enjoys the company.”

They’ve also got a counter to show children how many gifts Santa has delivered as he makes his way around the world.

Chouinard’s best advice?

“For all the kids out there, usually Santa shows up between nine and midnight, but he only stops if the children are in bed, so the kids have to be in bed, otherwise he has to bypass the house and come back,” he said.

For more information check out their website.