COLORADO SPRINGS—Tens of thousands of children from around the world plan to call the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) to ask where Santa Claus is, and starting Saturday they will get a cheery answer about the mythical route from a real person, not a recording.
The wildly popular Norad Tracks Santa operation is launching its 61st run at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Volunteers will answer phone calls and e-mails and post updates about Santa’s storybook world tour on Facebook and Twitter.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Paul Noel said 1,500 volunteers answered nearly 141,000 phone calls and more than 2,800 e-mails last year. The Norad spokesperson is quick to say his name really is Noel.
Children can call a toll-free number 877-4466723 (877-Hi-Norad) or e-mail [email protected] to ask where Santa is on his fabled journey.
Volunteers sit elbow-to-elbow in conference rooms at Peterson Air Force Base, Norad’s home, answering phones and checking computer-generated maps projected onto big screens.
First lady Michelle Obama traditionally answers calls via a remote hookup, but Noel said it was not yet known if she will participate again this year.
Elsewhere at the Air Force base, volunteers update Norad’s website (www.noradsanta.org), Facebook page (facebook.com/
noradsanta) and Twitter feed (@NoradSanta). —AP