Santa has given out exactly 7,623,693,263 gifts this year

An Omicron variant, flight crews tested positive and a large part of global air traffic is grounded. Almost 6,000 flights were canceled by airlines while thousands more were delayed around the world over Christmas weekend. According to the Flightaware website, this Saturday evening there were more than 2,650 flight cancellations. More than 6,350 flights were also delayed across the world.

Fortunately, these disruptions did not have any consequences for the tour of Santa Claus, scrupulously followed, for decades, by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad). The Norad counted exactly 7,623,693,263 gifts distributed this year, after having followed the course of the sled thanks, explains the organization, to a sensor placed in the nose of one of the reindeer.

A dedicated website and more than 1,500 volunteers

This tradition finds its origin in a telephone confusion. In 1955, a Colorado newspaper, wanting to publish the number of a telephone line supposed to allow children to call Santa Claus, had mistakenly printed that of the military command. The duty commander that day had played along and ordered his staff to give the children the whereabouts of Santa Claus. And the tradition continued, evolving in the late 1990s to a dedicated website.

Some 1,500 volunteers are now helping the military respond to children’s phone calls and emails. And this hunt for Santa Claus has become such an institution in the United States that President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have also answered calls from children eager to receive their gifts.

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