NORAD seeks volunteer Santa trackers

  • Published
  • By NORAD
  • Public affairs office
It's that time of year again - North American Aerospace Defense Command is once again looking for a few hundred Santa Trackers to help relay the jolly old elf's whereabouts on Christmas Eve to children around the world.

NORAD will track Santa again this year - a job they assumed in 1958 when the command was established. Prior to that CONAD - NORAD's predecessor had the role - purely by accident.

"It was a Sears advertisement that started it all," said Mr. Mike Perini, director of NORAD Public Affairs. "What started off as a misprinted number and a telephone call into the CONAD Command Center has grown into the world's largest Santa tracking operation."

"Although the web site is hugely popular - last year garnering a record 941 million web hits - it is the call into the Operations Center that started it all, and that, truly, is why we continue the tradition of taking the telephone calls on Christmas Eve," said Perini.

But to continue the tradition, NORAD needs hundreds of volunteers. According to Maj. Stacia Reddish, NTS Project Officer, last year 756 volunteers answered more than 65,000 telephone calls and 7,487 e-mails from children around the world.

"This year we expect to receive even more calls and e-mails since the program continues to grow in popularity," she said.

The web site is bound to be even more popular this year - it's been redesigned with a fresh look and has interactive games and activities for the children.

And a more popular Web site means more calls into the NTS Operations Center.

"Although kids can, and do, track Santa on the Web site, many like to talk with a Santa Tracker in person," Mr. Perini said.

The NTS Operations Center is located at the Leadership Development Center, Bldg 910, on Peterson AFB.

"The LDC is a perfect location," said Major Reddish. "We have ample room for volunteers, their children and all the computers and telephones needed to get the job done on Christmas Eve."

That job, of course, is to answer the telephones non-stop as children from around the world call in to speak to a NORAD Tracks Santa tracker. The Trackers will be busy - last year, on average, a tracker answered 39 calls per hour.

More NORAD Santa Trackers needed
In the past, getting volunteers has not been a problem at all - in fact, the two hour shifts usually fill up quite early.

"However," notes Major Reddish, "since Christmas Eve falls on a declared 'Family Day' for the 21st Space Wing and the Headquarters NORAD and USNORTHCOM, filling the additional seats may pose a bit of a challenge. And we need more volunteers than ever this year - as many as 900 volunteers."

The Operations Center is a fun, festive place - complete with snacks and beverages. Volunteers are invited to bring their families with them - a special room for younger children will be available.

To be a NORAD Santa Tracker this year, send an e-mail to and registration forms will be forwarded to you.

What NORAD Santa Trackers need to know
Being a NORAD Santa Tracker is a fun family activity.
No experience is required.
Anyone who has access to Peterson AFB and who is at least 14 years old can volunteer.
Shifts are two hours long and begin at 2 a.m. Dec. 24.
The last shift ends at 2 a.m. Christmas Day.
Send an e-mail to to request a volunteer form.
Volunteers will be notified by e-mail of the final schedule.