NORAD answers children's Santa questions on Christmas Eve

Dec 24, 2014

Tonight every child who believes in Christmas is going to be wondering where Santa is. In the 1950s the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, started tracking Santa.

These days, there are multiple ways kids can track Santa. There's Google Earth and even a tracking app. NORAD's Facebook and Twitter feeds update Santa's location constantly Christmas Eve day.

But for some children, knowing the whereabouts of Santa isn't enough. They have burning questions that need answers. Volunteers at the NORAD headquarters in Colorado started coming in at 4 a.m. this Christmas Eve to  answer thousands of calls. Reporter Julia Botero spoke with NORAD's Maj. Sgt. Chuck Marsh about what that's like.

Sgt. Chuck Marsh: "Its kind of similar to if you've ever seen a movie or a TV show where they have folks on Wall Street when they are on the trading floor just going and running around like crazy. People on the telephone calls. Its loud and lots of stuff going on around you. Its kind of like that, but everyone who is running around is wearing a Santa hat or elf ears and everyone is just smiling and happy to be there."

Julia Botero: That's cute. So, you're getting a lot of calls, but where are they coming from?

CM: "We've received phone calls, email and website hits from 234 countries across the world. So it's pretty neat to be able to get a phone call from a child in another country who is tracking Santa right along with us, so it's a world-wide tradition. We have folks in the operation center who speak eight different languages and there are still people who call up that we then have to put a request out to see if they speak that language."

JB: What questions are children asking about Santa?

Marsh: "We've heard pretty much every question you could possibly imagine from children of all ages. Some asking what time Santa is going to get to their house, if they were on the naughty or nice list. What Santa looks like. What his favorite cookies are. And we get a couple of kids who even ask about their brother and sister, too. One little boy decided to tell me how naughty his sister was and if we wanted to have Santa bring all the presents that were going to go to her, if they could just go to him instead. And we had to tell him it's Santa that actually has the naughty and nice list and it's up to him on what the children are going to get."

Sgt. Marsh says children can track Santa's progress through the North Country on their website, NoradSanta.org.