MOSCOW, December 25 (RIA Novosti) – The red-suited Christmas gift-bearer Santa Claus has delivered about 5.7 billion presents worldwide, America’s official Santa tracker said Wednesday morning.
Santa’s journey to deliver gifts to children around the globe began Tuesday afternoon, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a US-Canada bilateral organization that tracks Father Christmas’ annual trek from the North Pole as well as watching the skies above the continent for attackers.
US First Lady Michelle Obama visited the NORAD headquarters in Colorado on Tuesday to answer phone calls from children requesting Santa’s location information, according to a statement on the command’s website.
Santa has already repeatedly visited Russia on this year’s Christmas tour, flying over the Urals cities Perm and Chelyabinsk and the Far Eastern Kamchatka region, according to a live location tracker posted on the NORAD website. He is expected to return to Russia’s western regions later on Wednesday.
NORAD said it uses heat-tracking satellites to trace the location of Rudolph, the head of the nine-reindeer team that pulls Santa’s sleigh, using warmth emitted by the reindeer’s bright red nose. Radar and aircraft in North America and Canada are also used to track the sleigh’s journey, NORAD said.
NORAD has been monitoring the jolly gift-giver’s annual Christmas journey since 1955, when a major department store in Colorado mistakenly advertised the military center’s telephone number as a contact for Santa Claus, and phone operators were flooded with calls from children asking for the sleigh's location.