Santa trackers will continue to do job despite Covid pandemic

Santa’s trackers at the North American Aerospace Defence Command will continue to work despite the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado will work for a 65th year to field calls on Christmas Eve to tell the mostly young callers where Santa is flying.

However, Covid-19 regulations mean the number of Norad staff on the lines will be limited in 2020, the 65th year of the service.

Norad spokesman Preston Schlachter said: “We understand this is a time-honoured tradition, and we know undoubtedly there is going to be some disappointment.

“But we’re trying to keep it safe for everyone involved.”

Some callers will be able to speak to a member of the military but others will get a recorded update on the current location of Father Christmas.

The military command has been fielding calls since 1955, when Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup – the commander on duty at Norad’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defence Command – fielded a call from a child who dialled a misprinted telephone number in a newspaper department store advert, thinking she was calling Santa.

A fast-thinking Col Shoup quickly assured his caller that he was and the tradition began.

Today, most early calls come from Japan and Europe, and as the day goes on the callers from the US and Canada climb.