Illustration of Santa

Tracking Santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks every aircraft that flies over North America — including, once a year, a certain magical sleigh. For more than 60 years, NORAD has followed Santa on his around-the-world journey from the North Pole, and will do so again this year with radar, satellites and Santacams.





It Started As A Fluke!


History of Santa Tracker


Harry Shoup
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Illustration of an airplane dropping toys

Operation Christmas Drop

Santa’s not the only one spreading Christmas cheer in the Indo-Pacific! Operation Christmas Drop started in 1952 as a spur-of-the-moment supply drop, and it’s now the Defense Department’s longest-running humanitarian operation, spanning generations of volunteers, service members and islanders.

Illustration of toys in a cart

Toys for Tots

For 71 years, the Marine Corps Reserve has been making the holidays brighter for American children and their families through the Toys for Tots program. It began in 1947 when a Marine Corps reservist was tasked with starting an agency that collects and delivers toys to children. Today, Toys for Tots distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less-fortunate children each year.

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Illustration of a toy falling with a parachute

Operation Toy Drop

The Randy Oler Memorial Operation Toy Drop is a multinational jump for joy — a chance for U.S. paratroopers to practice their craft with foreign troops while spreading holiday cheer. Along with their parachutes, participants bring toys to donate to children in need as part of the annual Fort Bragg, N.C., tradition.

Illustration of a ship

Holiday Festival of Lights

No sleigh? No snow? No problem. At Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Navy ships transform into festive, twinkling vessels fit for Santa in December during the annual Holiday Festival of Lights. The decorated ships and submarines create a spectacle enjoyed by troops, military families and members of the community alike.

Illustration of George Washington's bust

Major Military Events That Happened on Christmas

On Dec. 25, many Americans relax and enjoy time with their families. For many of our troops, though, it can be a day of sacrifice and hardship. Over the history of the United States, several big military actions have taken place on Christmas.