UK & World News

  • 25 December 2013, 3:52

Tracking Santa's Journey Across The Globe

It has become a holiday tradition.

Officials and volunteers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command are spending the night tracking Father Christmas as he criss-crosses the globe.

NORAD, an organisation that provides aerospace warning information to the US and Canada, provides up-to-date information on the progress of Father Christmas and his reindeer.

The agency says Santa usually starts in the South Pacific and hits New Zealand and Australia before heading to Japan and Asia.

Africa and Europe are next, followed by North America and South America.

"Santa calls the shots," NORAD says on its website. "We just track him!"

NORAD provides updates by phone, Facebook, Twitter and email.

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.

The tradition began in 1955, when a local newspaper advertisement invited children to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline or NORAD's predecessor.

Rather than disappoint the kids, commanders told them they indeed knew where Santa was.

Major General Charles D Luckey, from NORAD's headquarters in Colorado Springs, told Sky News that the feedback is "awesome".

"It is a great experience for the whole team," he said. "It is a great way for everybody to get ready for the holiday season."

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