Santa nearly here say Air Force trackers

The wait is almost over for thousands of children across Wicklow who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas.

According to the US air defence organisation NORAD, Santa has already begun his round-the-world journey and is somewhere over Australia right now.

NORAD have been tracking Santa since 1955, when a newspaper promotion listing a phone number for Santa Claus’ North Pole home accidentally listed the number for their air base, prompting numerous calls to bewildered servicemen from hundreds of children.

Now the information is on Twitter, Facebook and mobile phones as well as the traditional phone line and website.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command won’t say exactly how Santa’s route gets on to its computer screens, but the updates are popular around the world.

Tracking Santa takes months of planning and scores of volunteers are needed to answer calls and respond to emails, tweets and Facebook posts.

Today phones have been ringing non-stop at Peterson Air Force Base, headquarters of the annual Santa-tracking operation.

Dozens of helpers at NORAD are taking calls and tracking Santa’s location on large projection screens.

They’re posting updates for nearly 1.2 million Facebook fans and 104,000 Twitter followers.

Last year, they answered almost 102,000 calls, nearly 25 percent more than the previous year. They also answered more than 7,700 emails

Then deputy commander of NORAD Lt. Gen. Marcel Duval said in 2010: “It’s really ingrained in the NORAD psyche and culture.

“It’s a goodwill gesture from all of us, on our time off, to all the kids on the planet.”

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