Hundreds of volunteers spend Christmas Eve tracking Santa

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — His journey began early this morning and will continue into the night.

Hundreds of volunteers spending the day tracking Santa from Peterson Air Force Base.

What started 61 years ago by accident has since become a tradition for children across the world, wanting to know when to expect Santa Claus.

“It started in 1955 when an ad in a local paper urging children to call in and talk to Santa,” said Lieutenant Commander Paul Noel with United States Navy. “Instead it sent them to the Continental Air Defense Command red phone.”

The misprint has evolved into more than 1,500 volunteers working in two-hour shifts, answering up to 10,000 calls per hour.

“It’s been super busy,” said Robyn Slade, a Colonel with the United States Air Force. “It’s just been a lot of fun to hear how excited the kids are to find out where Santa is and when he might be at their house.”

“It is non-stop,” said Doug Terranova, a Santa Tracker volunteer. “Kids are calling and calling. I’ve had from multiple continents kids calling, pretty much every age.”

The same radars, satellites, and jets that keep the country safe are the same ones used to track old Saint Nick.

“It’s just an honor honestly,” said Terranova. “To be a part of a kids Christmas experience. These kids that I will never meet, never know and just to be able to be a part of that and kind of help make their Christmas a little more fun and festive is such an honor.”

“You know kids from all over the country, all over the world call in and just to be able to share a little bit of the Christmas spirit with them and maybe help brighten their holiday a little bit,” said Slade.

While Santa’s helpers answer each and every call, they also remind kids that Santa won’t come until they’re fast asleep.

“Most kids just ask hey where is Santa at and we make sure when to tell them Santa will be there so they can be in bed on time,” said Terranova. “A lot of parents really appreciate that.”

“It feels like Christmas day already because everyone is just so excited and everyone just has so much fun talking to the children,” said Noel.

Tracking Santa began at four o’clock this morning and will end at three o’clock Sunday morning.

Check out more holiday coverage here.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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