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Where is Santa? NORAD continues 62-year tradition on Christmas Eve

FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2014, file photo, Canadian Brig. Gen. Guy Hamel, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Deputy Director of Policy, Strategy, and Plans, joins other volunteers taking phone calls from children around the world asking where Santa is and when he will deliver presents to their homes, inside a phone-in center during the annual NORAD Tracks Santa Operation, at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Hundreds of military and civilian volunteers at NORAD are estimated to field more than 100,000 calls this year throughout Christmas Eve, from children from all over the world eager to hear about Santa's progress. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

It’s a tradition that is 62 years in the making: The North American Aerospace Defense Command is continuing its practice of tracking Santa Claus this Christmas Eve.

NORAD, the U.S. military command charged with protecting North American airspace, began tracking Santa’s location at 2 a.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 24 and is allowing the public to come along on the ride.

Through, the public can keep track of Santa’s each and every move as he makes his way to the Valley.

People can also 1-877-HI-NORAD to speak live with trackers. They will be keeping track of Santa by having fighter jets fly along Santa’s wing and using satellites and infrared trackers to monitor him and his reindeer.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will be participating in phone calls, the White House said.

The Arizona Department of Transportation tweeted that it will also be helping in the quest to track Santa on Christmas Eve.

According to CNN, this tradition began on accident, with a typo in a newspaper and a good sport.

In 1955, a typo in a Colorado newspaper advertisement from Sears Roebuck & Co. led to children calling the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor, in an attempt to call the big man.

Air Force Col. Harry Shoup was on duty that Christmas Eve and “instead of hanging up on countless children that night, Shoup checked the radar and updated the eager children on jolly old Saint Nick’s location.”

Today, the tradition is carried on by volunteers and a handful of corporate sponsors.

Last year, NORAD Tracks Santa received nearly 154,200 phone calls and drew 10.7 million unique visitors to its website. It had 1.8 million Facebook followers, 382,000 YouTube views and 177,000 Twitter followers.

By midday in the eastern United States on Sunday, NORAD reported that Santa had delivered around 2 billion presents in Asia, including Christmas Island. NORAD tweeted reminders for “good boys and girls to get to bed” in various countries along the route.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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