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It turns out that millions of people wanted to know where Santa Claus is every minute of Christmas Eve before Christmas Day arrives. The North American Aerospace Defense Command said that its Santa tracker site drew 19.58 million viewers on Christmas Eve.
NORAD said on Thursday that it received 117,371 calls from people wanting to know where Santa was, reports The Associated Press. There were over 1,200 volunteers answering the phones, including First Lady Michelle Obama.
The tracker was also a hit on social media, with 146,307 following on Twitter and 1.45 million Facebook likes.
Although the social media numbers were up from last year, the total number of unique visitors was down. Last year, the site drew 22.3 million visitors.
The tracker is a tradition dating back to 1955. NORAD’s predecessor, CONAD had received calls from children wanting to know where Santa was when a newspaper printed its number in an advertisement. Since then, children have been able to call every year to get a detailed location for Santa, although NORAD says that it can’t give Santa’s estimated time of arrival because only the man in red knows his route.
The American Forces Press Service notes that NORAD begins preparing for Christmas Eve in the spring. “We begin early, focusing on the main program areas to include the website, map, social media and logistics for the phone center, and are always trying to improve from the year prior,” NORAD Tracks Santa project manager Stacey Knott said. “This year we completely revamped the website, technically and graphically.”