Updated 09:38 PM EDT, Sun, Jun 24, 2018

NORAD Santa Tracker 2013 Live: Track Saint Nick's Journey Around the World

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As Santa Claus prepares to start his journey delivering presents around the world on Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has already begun keeping tabs on Saint Nick throughout his voyage through their Santa Tracker, which is currently live.

The annual Santa tracker tradition began after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement accidentally misprinted the phone number for children to call Santa in 1955. Instead of reaching Santa, children were actually calling the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations hotline. However, the Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, went along with it and order his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making progress. As a result, they gave callers updates on his location, reports Fox 6 Now.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States took on the tradition of tracking Santa through NORAD, their bi-national air defense, a step further.  Since then, each year NORAD volunteers spend their time responding to phone calls and emails from children all around the globe. In addition, millions of people who want to know Santa's whereabouts can also visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

While the digital tracking system is usually benign in nature, this year has become the center of controversy as child advocacy groups are complaining that NORAD is using it to draw kids into the military.

The controversy erupted earlier this month after NORAD, released a teaser video in which Santa is seen being escorted by two F-18 combat jets while he is being tracked by Air Force radar surveillance.

In another video, maritime units report that they are ready to conduct "any gift rescue operations if necessary," while land units verify "load-bearing capacity for all rooftops which reindeer will land on," reports CNN.

The associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Josh Golin, told CNN that this is "a back-door way to market" the military to children, and that the Pentagon turned a holiday tradition into "violence and militarism."

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