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First lady, volunteers answer 114,000 calls inquiring about Santa’s whereabouts

FILE 2012: NORAD Deputy Commander Lt. General Alain Parent, center, of the Royal Canadian Air Force, takes phone calls from children asking where Santa is and when he will deliver presents to their house, during the annual NORAD Tracks Santa Operation, at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, at Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs, Colo.AP

The North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracking program logged 19.58 million unique visitors to its website Christmas Eve.

NORAD Thursday said volunteers answered 117,371 calls from children seeking information on the fabled jolly elf's whereabouts. First lady Michelle Obama was among the program's 1,200 volunteers.

An additional 146,307 followed Santa's progress on Twitter. The program also got 1.45 likes on Facebook.

Those numbers are up from last year when volunteers answered 114,000 phone calls from around the world. The website had 22.3 million unique visitors. NORAD Tracks Santa had 1.2 million followers on Facebook and 129,000 on Twitter.

The Christmas tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955 when a local newspaper advertisement invited children to call Santa but mistakenly listed the hotline of NORAD's predecessor.