Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 19 April 2015

Santa tracker - Follow the epic journey via UK, Ireland, America, Africa, Australia and Asia

Plus - check out if you are on the Naughty or Nice List

The Frozen Snow Glow Elsa dolls and the Lego boxes have been safely packed onto the sleigh. The waiting is over and millions of presents have already been delivered.

Before he set off Santa Claus issued a pre-flight appeal to children around the globe to hit the sack early, to remember to hang out their stockings and most important of all - no snooping or peeping. Speaking ahead of his epic journey, Father Christmas said: “I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. Early to bed, no peeping, no traps. And by the way, no toys on the floor... that’s a very sore thing."

For more than 60 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) - whose usual responsibility involves defending US airspace -  devotes some of  its time to tracking the progress of a generously proportioned, white-bearded gentleman as he swoops around the globe on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

The Santa Tracker programme began when on December 24 1955 a Sears department store placed an advert in a a Colorado Springs newspaper which invited young readers to contact Santa.

Unfortunately they printed the wrong number, directing people instead to the number for Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Centre.

>>Check out if you are on the Naughty or Nice list - click here<<

The colonel who was on duty that night - Harry Shoup - instructed his staff to give all the children who called a "current location" for Santa Claus, and hence the tradition began. It continued when Norad replaced Conad in 1958.

Such is the demand for information on Santa's progress that Norad today employs volunteers to man the phones. It is estimated that they handle around 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries.

The Santa Tracker has become more advanced over the years and has taken to social media with accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Although Norad have a significant task ahead of them tracking Santa it is nothing as compared to the challenge the man in red and white himself faces.

Santa has to deliver to presents to an estimated 1.6 billion children on Christmas Eve. A task that requires him to visit 822 homes a second and travel at 650 miles a second - which is 3,000 times the speed of sound.

And here are some seasonal jokes

What does Santa say to the toys on Christmas Eve?

Okay everyone, sack time!

 

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?

Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

 

What do you call a kitty on the beach on Christmas morning?

Sandy Claws!

 

Who delivers presents to dentist offices?

Santa Jaws!

 

Who delivers Christmas presents to elephants?

Elephanta Claus!

 

What do you get if Santa comes down the chimney while the fire is still burning?

Crisp Kringle!

 

Why does St. Nicholas have a white beard?

So he can hide at the North Pole!

 

What do you call Santa when he has no money?

Saint "Nickel"-less!

 

What smells most in a chimney?

Santa's nose!

 

What does Kris Kringle like to get when he goes to the donut shop?

A jolly roll!

 

What do you call someone who doesn't believe in Father Christmas?

A rebel without a Claus!

 

What is invisible but smells like milk and cookies?

Kris Kringle burps!

 

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