Santa trackers having record holiday

2011-12-24 23:13

Denver - Santa's piling up more than presents this year. The big man's trackers at NORAD say Santa Claus is also breaking records this Christmas Eve.

Volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado were fielding 4 000 calls an hour on Saturday morning, on pace to break a record. Also, Santa's NORAD Facebook page exceeded 840 000 "likes" by midmorning. Last year, Santa had 716 000 "likes."

Volunteers at NORAD Tracks Santa said kids started calling at 04:00 on Saturday to find out where Santa was.

"The phones are ringing like crazy," Lieutenant Commander Bill Lewis said on Saturday.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command has been telling anxious children about Santa's whereabouts every year since 1955.

That was the year a Colorado Springs newspaper ad invited kids to call Santa on a hotline, but the number had a typo, and dozens of kids wound up talking to the Continental Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD's predecessor.

The officers on duty played along and began sharing reports on Santa's progress. It's now a deep-rooted tradition at NORAD, a joint US-Canada command that monitors the North American skies and seas from a control centre at Peterson.

NORAD's Santa updates are blowing up on social media, too.

In addition to the website and Facebook and Twitter pages, Santa this year has a new tracking app for smart phones. The app includes the Elf Toss, a game similar to Angry Birds.


- AP
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