COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 23, 2011) -- For more than 50 years, North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD, and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, or CONAD, have tracked Santa's Christmas Eve flight using four high-tech systems- radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets.

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The tracking tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline."

The Director of Operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

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