In the category of stories that would be a lot cuter if they were directed by Frank Capra instead of, oh I don't know, the North American Aerospace Defense Command... NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus since 1955, and this is the third year that Norad Tracks Santa
online. From Wikipedia:
In 1955, a Colorado Springs-based Sears store ran an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus on a special telephone hotline. Due to a printing error, the phone number that was printed was the hotline for the Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense.... Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call on Christmas Eve of 1955 from a six-year old boy who began reciting his Christmas list. Shoup didn't find the call funny, but after asking the mother of the second caller what was happening, then realizing the mistake that occurred, he instructed his staff to give Santa's position to any child who called in.Here's a page
Three years later, the governments of the United States and Canada combined their national domestic air defenses into the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), but the tradition continued. Now major media outlets as well as children call in to inquire on Santa's location. NORAD relies on volunteers to help make Santa tracking possible. Many employees at Cheyenne Mountain and Peterson Air Force Base spend part of their Christmas Eve with their families and friends at NORAD's Santa Tracking Operations Center in order to answer phones and provide Santa updates to thousands of callers.
showing that NORAD managed to record some painfully corny moments with various "celebrities", including poor David Boreanaz, looking like someone cornered him with a microphone at a party and told him he'd make little children cry unless he did their cheesy spot.
There's something repugnantly anti-Santa about the idea of Santa getting an honor guard of jetfighters
, and I'm always freaked out by mixes of military policy and quasi-religious sentimentality. But I suppose there are worse things they could be doing with their time, and I'm glad they're having some fun out there at Cheyenne Mountain (or whatever secret undisclosed location where the Santa-tracking occurs).