Rome, NY (WIBX) - As families all over the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, officials at NORAD are also gearing up to track the jolly ol' guy and his reindeer on December 24th. The North American Aerospace Defense Command--headquartered at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome--has been tracking Santa for over 50 years.

Eric Burr, Director of Public Affairs for the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs said it all started like this. "Back in 1955 a local department store was advertising a 'Talk to Santa' telephone number, but they got the number wrong in the newspaper ad. And the number instead rang into the operations room of Continental Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs, and so a Colonel answered the phone, and there was a young boy there wanting to know if he could talk to Santa, and the Colonel explained that, 'no he couldn't,' and then more phone calls came in, so ever since then NORAD has tracked Santa's progress across the world every Christmas Eve."

Durr says children and grown-ups interested in watching Santa's progress on Christmas Eve, can sign onto the NORAD Tracks Santa web site at, www.noradsanta.org. He says Santa may even see wave hello...