NORAD’s Santa Tracker counts down the days until Christmas 2016 with Bing’s help

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Google’s not the only one with its eye on Santa’s whereabouts. For 61 years now, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has tracked Santa’s December 24 trip around the world.

The practice started in 1955 when a Sears, Roebuck & Co. advertisement mistakenly included NORAD’s phone number to call Santa. According to NORAD’s website, the number dialed directly into the Commander-in-Chief’s operations hotline.

“The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole,” says NORAD. “Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.”

Bing has long been listed among NORAD’s many contributors to its Santa Tracker program. While Microsoft has not released an official announcement this year, a Bing spokesperson sent the following comments when asked about their contributions to the 2016 NORAD Santa Tracker:

“Microsoft is happy to support the North American Aersopace Defense Command (NORAD) tracker for Santa’s Christmas Eve flight once again for the 61st consecutive year. Millions of youngsters and kids-at-heart visit the site each December to track Santa on his global journey, making it the perfect blend of Christmas tradition and technology.”

Not only is NORAD counting down the days until Santa takes flight, NORAD’s Santa Village website offers a full host of holiday-themed activities, from games, movies and books to a gift shop where you can get a personalized NORAD Santa Tracker certificate, a letter from Santa and other merchandise.

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In addition to helping out NORAD track Santa, Bing has decorated its home page with an Advent Calendar: Bing home page gets 31 holiday-themed surprises for each day of December.