NORAD makes Santa-tracking switch

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is reprising its annual tracking of Santa Claus’s trip around the globe on Monday.

NORAD will post updates of Santa’s trip to its Twitter account, @NORADSanta, and on its interactive website, www.noradsanta.org.

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As of 9:52 a.m. EST, Santa was spotted flying over the Great Wall of China, and 15 minutes later he passed Hong Kong. As of 10:13 am EST, Santa had dispensed more than 1.2 billion gifts, according to the website.

NORAD is a joint venture between the U.S. and Canada, monitoring the skies to enforce air sovereignty and defense for the two countries.

For the last two years, first lady Michelle Obama has fielded phone calls from young children inquiring about the location of Santa Claus. The Obamas are vacationing in Hawaii, and the first lady spoke to children for about 30 minutes on Monday, according to a White House official.

The Santa tracker has run into some private-sector controversy this time around.

NORAD has previously used Google Maps to follow Santa’s trip, but this year it went with rival Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, for the event.

Google says it will strike out with its own Santa-tracking website.

--This report was originally published at 10:24 a.m. and last updated at 6:31 p.m.