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NORAD tracking Santa Claus' journey around the world

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, is tracking Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve journey across the globe for the 65th year.

NORAD is live-streaming a virtual map of Santa's journey on its "NORAD Tracks Santa" website, and callers to 1-877-HI-NORAD can receive updates on St. Nick's progress into the evening.

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The organization previously announced its number of volunteers would be scaled back this year due to COVID-19, so callers to the hotline may receive a recording instead of a live volunteer. Questions can also be sent via email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

"While NORAD understands the call center is an important tradition for many families around the world, we [are reducing] the health risks posed by attempting to conduct a large, indoor, in-person call center during the pandemic," officials said in a statement.

Santa also is being tracked on NORAD's social media pages, as well as via Amazon Alexa, Onstar and a new mobile app.

The combined defense agency of the United States and Canada normally conducts aerospace and maritime warning and control in the defense of North America as it identifies hostile aircraft across the Arctic region.

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The "NORAD tracks Santa" program had its genesis in 1955, when Air Force Col. Harry Shoup answered a call from a child who dialed a misprinted Santa hotline number from a newspaper department store ad.

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