If you're new to parenthood, the NORAD Santa Tracker is a must for the holiday season. Kids enjoy keeping an eye on it on December 24th to see where Santa is headed so they can get to bed before his arrival. But it's also fun to check the website or app throughout the month to hear holiday music, play games, learn more about Santa, and check out what the elves are up to as they get ready for "the big dance."

Now I know what you're thinking, isn't NORAD the North American Aerospace Defense Command? Aren't they supposed to be focusing on Homeland Security? They are, and they are, but because of a mistake in 1955, NORAD also took responsibility for tracking Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. Besides, they track everything that flies in and around North America, so it makes sense that this would be part of their duties.

In 1955, there was a newspaper ad inviting kids to call Santa, one youngin dialed up CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command) to ask about the whereabouts of the sleigh. The staff checked the radar and played along and NORAD has been tracking Santa ever since. Kids can actually still call 1-877-HI-NORAD or email noradtracksanta@outlook.com with inquiries.

As for visiting Santa here in Missoula, he is making regular appearances at the Southgate Mall and Cabela's. I also recently learned all about who these holiday helpers are, and just how serious they are about their Santa beards, check it out here.

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