Friday, December 12, 2014

Fiction Friday: The Origin of NORAD Tracks Santa

You can never be quite sure how the small decisions you make might leave your mark on history. In 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup had a choice to make - play along for the children, or tell them to fob off. He, and his staff, played along - probably just laughing and working hard to one-up the tall tales they tell on each phone call - and spawned a tradition that has put smiles on the faces of children and adults around the globe for almost six decades. That’s the kind of legacy I would love to leave behind.


“The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations ‘hotline.’ The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.”

From the FAQ at


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