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Santa tracker fracas Blitzen the deliveries?

Last updated 10:54 20/12/2012
Santa Claus tracker
GLOBAL POSITIONING SANTA: Have the Santa trackers dropped the bauble?

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Poor old Saint Nicholas.

Not only does he face the dilemma every year of trying to please the world's children on December 25, but now he's at the centre of a break-up.

There are fears this could affect preparations for Monday night's mass present drop-off, after months of painstaking planning.

For the past five years, the North American Aerospace Defence Command has worked with Google Maps to track Santa Claus' movements as he travels across the world.

But this year is different. Google has ended its arrangement with the command and set up its own Santa tracker.

Google promises on Christmas Eve to showcase a preview of Santa's dashboard, sent from one of Father Christmas' developer elves.

The command - which has tracked Santa as he moved across the globe since 1955 - has now joined Microsoft's search engine, Bing, to provide its service.

There is also a NORAD Tracks Santa app, a YouTube Channel and pages on Facebook [with one million "likes"] and Twitter [with 95,000 followers].

Millions visit the website each year to keep up with Santa's movements.

The tracker is a mammoth effort and relies on volunteers and donations from corporations, including computer servers and video-imaging companies.

The tracking tradition began because of a mistake in an advertisement for US department store Sears Roebuck. Instead of showing the phone number for Santa, a number for the defence command was printed.

As for that age-old vexing question of how Santa gets to each house in just one night, the command says that if Santa worked within the limits of standard time, he could only be in each home for three ten-thousandths of a second.

"Santa Claus is more than 16 centuries old, yet he does not appear to age at all," the command explains on its Santa tracker website.

"This is our biggest clue that he does not work within time as we know it. His whole trip may appear to us as taking only 24 hours, but to Santa it may last days, weeks or even months in standard time!

"Santa would never rush the important job of distributing presents to children and spreading holiday cheer to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa functions within a different time-space continuum than the rest of us. Santa is a true mystery to us all!"

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Fairfax Media contacted the North Pole but a spokes-elf said Santa would be too busy to comment.

- Fairfax Media


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