It's the North American Air Defense Command, and it checks that list every day of the year. Once each year, on Christmas Eve, it adds Santa Claus and his sleigh to its usual menu of airspace violations and unauthorized flights.
Santa gets a free pass, of course.
NORAD has followed St. Nick for the past 45 years, along with conducting its primary mission of protecting U.S. and Canadian airspace.
Veteran newspeople who work Christmas Eve have come to expect NORAD's annual reports of sightings of Santa, usually delivered via the wire services, but in recent years the information has become accessible — and glitzy enough — for everyone.
Viewers of a special Web site (www.noradsanta.org) will be able to hear the voice of 15-year-old singer Aaron Carter, who will participate as a guest Santa tracker.
There's also music from the United States Air Force Band of the Rockies from Colorado Springs, The United States Air Force Band of Middle America, and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band from Edmonton, Alberta,
NORAD's Santa Tracker site also features "newly acquired photos of Santa captured over the past 40 years," as well as photos of Carter with Santa. There are also other features for children, including a discussion of Santa's physique and how he manages to fit down all those chimneys.
The Web site will feature 25 key stops, beginning at the North Pole and ending in Hawaii.
Video clips have already begun will be updated regularly until Christmas Day.
Here's Santa's itinerary:
- Aleutian Islands
- New Zealand
- Sydney, Austalia
- Mount Fuji, Japan
- Great Wall of China
- Himalayas in Nepal
- Taj Mahal, India
- Persian Gulf Air Craft Carrier, Kuwait
- St. Basil's in Moscow, Russia
- International Space Station/Africa (including the pyramids)
- Roman Coliseum, Italy
- Eiffel Tower, Paris
- Stonehenge, England
- Corcovado, Brazil
- Newfoundland/Eastern Canada F-18 scramble
- Eastern Canada F-18 intercept
- Washington D.C.
- St. Louis
- Cheyenne Mountain, Co
- Reindeer Lake, Canada
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle/British Columbia
- Hawaiian Islands