- Associated Press - Monday, December 24, 2012

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, COLO. (AP) - Volunteers at a Colorado Air Force base monitoring maps showing Santa Claus’ progress have answered more than 41,000 phone calls from children asking about the jolly old elf.

Phones have been ringing nonstop Monday at Peterson Air Force Base, headquarters of the North American Aerospace Command’s annual Santa-tracking operation.

Hundreds of helpers at NORAD are taking calls and tracking Santa’s location on large projection screens. They’re posting updates for nearly 1.2 million Facebook fans and 104,000 Twitter followers.

The maps show Santa is in Germany and heading west. He has delivered more than 3 billion presents so far.

The volunteers started taking calls at 4 a.m. Mountain time and will keep updating until 3 a.m. on Christmas morning.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Volunteers at a Colorado Air Force base monitoring maps showing Santa Claus’ progress are several hours into their goodwill mission and have answered more than 24,000 phone calls from children wanting to know everything from old Saint Nick’s age, to how reindeer fly, to when they can expect their presents.

Phones have been ringing nonstop Monday at Peterson Air Force Base, headquarters of the North American Aerospace Command’s annual Santa-tracking operation.

Dozens of helpers at NORAD are taking calls and tracking Santa’s location on large projection screens. They’re posting updates for nearly 1.2 million Facebook fans and 104,000 Twitter followers.

The maps show Santa is in Pakistan and heading west. He has delivered more than 2 billion presents so far, according to the “NORAD Tracks Santa” website.

Volunteers started taking calls at 4 a.m. Mountain time on Monday and will keep updating until 3 a.m. on Christmas morning.

NORAD Tracks Santa began in 1955 when a newspaper ad listed the wrong phone number for kids to call Santa. Callers ended up getting the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor, and a tradition was born.

Following is a sampling of calls received at the base:

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GIFTS IN HEAVEN: One little boy from Missouri phoned in to ask what time Santa delivered toys to heaven, said volunteer Jennifer Eckels, who took the call. The boy’s mother got on the line to explain that his sister had died this year.

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