Santa Claus Delivered More Than 7 Billion Presents in His Round-the-World Flight: NORAD

The first lady took part in the U.S. military's 60-year-old tradition

Santa Claus made his way around the world and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked his entire movement. He continued his ride well into Christmas Day, dropping presents off in Hawaii before heading back to the North Pole.

The jolly man in red visited children in countries across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Kyrgyzstan, India, Afghanistan and Yemen, delivering more than six billion gifts. Santa's last destination was Hawaii after visiting mainland United States. He delivered a total of 7,281,439,471 gifts, NORAD said.

First Lady Michelle Obama volunteered with the tracking effort Thursday night, calling children across the country to see if they wanted to know how far along Santa was and asking if they were excited to see what presents he'd bring them.

"I’m probably going to ask my mom if I can take a pill that will help me sleep, because otherwise I’m going to stay up all night," said a boy named Peyton when Obama asked if he would stay up late, according to a White House press release.

But not every child she talked to was keeping up with the sleigh. Obama spoke with a boy named Anthony who told her he was watching television.

"You’re just watching TV?  But it’s Christmas Eve!" Obama said. "Aren’t you excited that Santa is going to be coming in the morning?"

Anthony replied: "Yeah, but I just -- I get to watch TV."

This Christmas Eve was the 60th year that NORAD, which monitors the skies and seas for threats to the U.S., tracked Santa Claus’ journey. The tradition started in 1955 when Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call from a child expecting to reach Santa Claus.

The misdirected call was the result of the child reversing two numbers of a Santa Line phone number printed in a Sears advertisement, according to the National Archives.

Sixty years later, there are now 1,250 volunteers manning phone lines to answer questions about the trip. NORAD also has a website where people were able to track the trek. The volunteers are a mix of Canadian and American military personnel and Department of Defense civilians.

The Santa Tracker hotline could be reached at 877-446-6723 starting at 5 a.m. EST on December 24th and continuing through 5 a.m. ET on December 25th.

Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Google joined in on the trailing fun with its own tracker

NBC's Asher Klein contributed to this report. 

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