Santa ready for trip around the world
His sleigh has been inspected, his bag of toys has been scanned, and his reindeer have successfully completed their takeoff and landing tests.
Santa Claus has been cleared for takeoff from the North Pole, Transport Canada announced Friday, and now eager present-seekers can track the man in red's flight through the skies.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) is once again providing detailed updates on Santa's movements on its website, www.noradsanta.org or by contacting 1-877-Hi-NORAD starting at 6 a.m. ET. Trackers also can send an email to noradtrackssanta(at)gmail.com.
Norad "Santa cams" are positioned around the world and this year, the command centre also is offering a Santa-tracking app for mobile devices. Tracking opportunities also are offered on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter.
Like any pilot, Santa had to pass a series of flight and medical tests before Transport Canada cleared him for flight.
"I'm very happy Santa has passed these latest tests," Mrs. Claus wrote in a text message sent to Transport Canada. "I made sure he focused on his tasks, not emptying the cookie jar or surfing the web too much, lol."
Santa's journey is expected to be smooth as usual, said Norad Capt. Jeff Noel in an interview with Global News.
"In all the years and centuries that Santa's been on the go, there's been no responsibility whatsoever for him ever missing a Christmas Eve," Noel said.
Only Santa knows his route, so Norad can't predict when he'll hit any particular home, Noel said. But one important detail is known.
"He usually arrives only when children are asleep. So in most countries, it seems Santa arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight."
While the technology for tracking Santa evolved, the tradition is more than 50 years old.
In 1955 a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck Co., advertisement misprinted a telephone number for children to call Santa. The number put children through to Norad's predecessor's operations hotline. The director of operations at the time had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa so the children who called were given updates.
It became a well-received tradition.