It' s all due to a typo in a 1956 Sears newspaper ad!
From the Los Angeles Times
NORAD Tracking Santa Claus' Progress
From Associated Press 9:07 AM PST, December 24, 2005COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. —
Radars, satellites, cameras and jet fighters that are normally dedicated to detecting any threats against the United States and Canada instead are tracking the Christmas Eve travels of Santa Claus.
In the 50th anniversary of the tradition, soldiers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said by about 7 a.m. PST, Santa had been spotted near Fiji, Japan, traveling about 100 times faster than the 185-mph Bullet Train.By 8 a.m., NORAD said Santa was in the Himalayas.
Last year, the tracking website at www.noradsanta.org received 912 million hits from 181 countries, and the Santa Tracking Operations Center answered nearly 55,000 phone calls on Christmas Eve.
According to NORAD lore, the tradition began in 1955 when Sears-Roebuck placed an ad in The Gazette in Colorado Springs telling kids to dial a number if they wanted to talk to Santa.
But the number was one digit off. When the first call came to NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, Col. Harry Shoup told an eager child he would check the radars for Santa.
A fifty year uncorrected typo! Not even the LA Times can boast that. Congratuations Colorado Springs Gazette.