NORAD Tracks Santa logs 19.58 million web visits

December 27, 2013 - 6:04 AM
NORAD Tracks Santa

FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2012 file photo, NORAD Deputy Commander Lt. General Alain Parent, center, of the Royal Canadian Air Force, takes phone calls from children asking where Santa is and when he will deliver presents to their house, during the annual NORAD Tracks Santa Operation, at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, at Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Also fielding calls are U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, left, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Chris Bendig. The U.S. and Canadian military will entertain millions of kids again this Christmas Eve with second-by-second updates on Santa’s global whereabouts.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa-tracking program logged 19.58 million unique visitors to its website on Christmas Eve.

NORAD said Thursday that volunteers answered 117,371 calls from children seeking information on the jolly old elf's whereabouts. First lady Michelle Obama was among the program's 1,200 volunteers.

An additional 146,307 followed Santa's progress on Twitter. The program also got 1.45 million "likes" on Facebook.

Those numbers are up from last year when volunteers answered 114,000 phone calls from around the world. The website had 22.3 million unique visitors. NORAD Tracks Santa had 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 129,000 on Twitter.

The Christmas tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement invited children to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline of NORAD's predecessor.