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NORAD: Santa making good progress, on way to Americas

According to the latest data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, otherwise known as NORAD, Santa Claus is making good progress this evening, having completed his duties in Europe without a hitch.

At the time of writing the big guy in the red suit is traveling with his hard-working reindeer across the Atlantic, on his way to the Americas. The trip over the great ocean gives him a chance to digest the millions of mince pies consumed on his visits to houses across Europe. The bracing air also helps him to clear his head from the fogginess brought on by the gallons of sherry which he used to wash down the mince pies.

If you’re interested in seeing exactly where Santa is right now, head on over to NORAD’s special website for the very latest information. You’ll need to have the Google Earth plug-in installed for the site to work properly.

The ‘NORAD Tracks Santa’ website has a live camera following Santa and his reindeer as they circumnavigate the world, delivering gifts to the expectant masses.

There are also a number of videos on NORAD’s website showing where Santa’s already been this evening. Enjoy some stunning footage of him and his reindeers flying majestically over a number of famous landmarks such as Westminster Abbey in London, the Great Wall of China and Mount Everest.

NORAD, which usually spends its time monitoring the skies over the US and Canada for suspicious activities, has been tracking Santa each year since 1955 after a Colorado Springs newspaper misprinted a ‘hotline’ phone number in an ad inviting children to call Santa. The misprinted number belonged to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command. It was inundated with calls, but rather than disappoint the children, those on duty that night played along and gave updates as to Santa’s whereabouts. And so a tradition was born.

Besides taking phone calls, NORAD has in recent years complemented its service with the tracking website, as well as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. The latest addition is a new tracking app (for iOS and Android devices), which includes an Elf Toss game along the lines of Angry Birds.

According to AP, volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado were taking around 8,000 calls every hour on Saturday afternoon. One volunteer included First lady Michelle Obama, who took 10 calls while on vacation with her family in Hawaii.