NORAD Tracks Santa is the oldest (since 1955) and most well known Santa Tracking service offered to the public during December of each year. According to Gerry Bowler, a history professor at the University of Manitoba and the author of Santa Claus: A Biography, of The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, and webinar host at the University of Manitoba on Christmas and Santa Claus, the NORAD Tracks Santa program and the various Santa Tracking efforts are "one of the few modern additions to the centuries-old Santa Claus story that have stuck. . . NORAD (and others) . . ., take(s) an essential element of the Santa Claus story - his travels on Christmas Eve – and looks at it through a technological lens. It brought Santa into the 20th century." And into the 21st century as well. [1] This is significant when the other successful prior addition to the Santa Claus story and folklore was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1939.

MAD Magazine

MAD Magazine – 1984-01 – NORAD Santa Track

MAD magazine January 1984 issue (Issue No. 244) front cover featuring NORAD Tracking Santa [1]

In the 1980’s, evidence that the NORAD Santa Tracks Program had achieved notabilty in North American popular culture was a parody by MAD magazine on its January 1984 issue (Issue No. 244) front cover.

Robot Chicken

In the 21st century, further evidence that the NORAD Santa Tracks Program had achieved notabilty in world popular culture was the Robot Chicken dark satirical segment “NORAD Shoots Down Santa” in Episode 36 (“Drippy Pony”) in Season 2 on Adult Swim of the Cartoon Network that was first broadcast on October 22, 2006.

Santa Claus and Supply Chain Management

Santas Sleigh In Flight

Santa’s Sleigh being pulled by his reindeer on Christmas Eve [2]

Santa Workshop – North Pole

Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole [2]

In 2007, one of the authors (Jeff Harrop) of the book Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain, wrote in a 1 December 2007 blog entry that “Santa Claus has the best consumer products supply chain in the world.” He also wrote under the heading “Tracking and Control” that “Because Santa flies a single delivery route on Christmas Eve, all presents are on the same load. This makes things very easy to track in literal real time, through a service provided by NORAD (the NORAD Tracks Santa Program). With this real time tracking tool, the precise global location of Santa’s sleigh can be monitored, letting his customers know when they should be off to bed.” [3] [2] Under the heading “Outsourcing of Administrative Functions”, Jeff Harrop also wrote that ”While Santa does take a large number of orders personally, he has also a long standing outsourcing deal with Canada’s Post Office (and a 2008 NORAD Tracks Santa partner for e-mail to Santa Claus). For 25 years now, Canada Post has set up a special route to deliver letters and emails from all over the world directly to Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole. This costs Santa nothing, as Canada Post does this solely for the recognition that comes with being one of his alliance partners.” [3]