"Silent Night" is first performed, the Library of Congress burns, NORAD begins tracking Santa, and man orbits the Moon for the first time, all on this day.
1955: The "NORAD Tracks Santa" tradition begins after a Sears department store mistakenly prints the phone number for Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center in an advertisement telling children they could call Santa. Col. Harry Shoup, who was on duty at CONAD that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a "current location" for Santa Claus. The tradition started that night would continue when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958 and continues to be a Christmas Eve tradition today.
Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Rabbani and Solimene Photography, Chris Jackson/Getty Images
U.S. National Archives
Dutch National Archives
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for TIME Inc.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
National Archives and Records Administration
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